Rajasthan passes anti-CAA resolution
Rajasthan became the third state on Saturday -- after Left-ruled Kerala on December 31, 2019 and Congress-ruled Punjab on January 17 -- to pass a resolution calling for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to be scrapped, indicating further intensification in the battle between Opposition parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the controversial law.
Tabling the resolution in the assembly, Rajasthan’s parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal called CAA an “attack on the secular framework” of India and described the criteria given for the eligibility for citizenship as “tough”. “In many remote places, it is difficult for people to get documents. How will nomadic communities do so?” he asked.
He also contended that the passage of CAA has tarnished India’s global image. “India’s standing in the international community is not because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or home minister Amit Shah but because India is seen as a melting pot of cultures and religions,” he said, urging the Centre to “sit quiet” till the Supreme Court decides on CAA.
As Dhariwal read out the text of the resolution, several BJP members stormed the well of the house and shouted slogans against the state government.
A three-judge bench of the top court is hearing at least 143 petitions filed against CAA, which was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019. The primary objections against the law, which eases a path to naturalisation for “persecuted minorties “ from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2015, are that it linked citizenship to religion and that it is discriminatory against Muslims. The assembly resolution was passed by a voice vote after a heated debate, during which the BJP accused the Congress’s move as “appeasement politics” while the Congress said that CAA was brought by the BJP to divert people’s attention from the current economic slowdown.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who was not in the assembly, tweeted shortly after the resolution was passed: “Rajasthan assembly has passed a resolution today against the CAA and we have urged the central govt to repeal the law as it discriminates against people on religious grounds, which violates the provisions of our constitution.”
The resolution also urged the Centre to withdraw the new information being sought to update the National Population Register (NPR) 2020, citing widespread apprehension that the NPR is a prelude to an all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC). It added that the CAA, too, was designed to deprive a section of people from citizenship.
Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, Gulab Chand Kataria, dismissed the anti-CAA resolution as a move to “vent frustration” since states did not have the right to not implement the act and stated that CAA was in the interest of the country and would “weed out anti-nationals”.
When Kerala became the first state to pass a resolution against CAA, the Congress-led United Democratic Front, which is the main Opposition in the state, joined hands with the ruling CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front government. On January 14, Kerala also became the first to move the Supreme Court against the CAA. On Jan 17, when Punjab passed a resolution against CAA, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is an ally of the BJP at the Centre, supported the resolution and sought the inclusion of Muslims in the list of communities that could be granted citizenship under the amended law.
The Centre, however, has maintained that CAA is not within the purview of state governments, and had said that there was no question of a roll-back no matter how many people opposed or protested against the law.