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Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. (Hindustan Times)
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. (Hindustan Times)

After Kerala, Punjab assembly passes resolution against CAA

  • The move is significant as it highlights the opposition’s attempt to use state legislatures and the judiciary to challenge the controversial law
  • Amarinder Singh says CAA should be repealed in India’s interest

NEW DELHI : Congress-ruled Punjab became the second state to pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in its legislative assembly on Friday, terming it “unconstitutional". Left alliance-ruled Kerala was the first to pass a similar resolution on 31 December.

The move is significant as it highlights the opposition’s attempt to use state legislatures and the judiciary to challenge the controversial law. Next week, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a bunch of petitions challenging the law.

“I have sworn on the Constitution and I will continue to fulfil my duty as a loyal soldier. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji had said, ‘Na koi Hindu, Na Mussalman’ (no one is a Hindu or Muslim) and, it is in this spirit, Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed the resolution to appeal to central government to repeal CAA for India’s interest," Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh posted on Twitter.

State minister and senior Congress leader Brahm Mohindra moved the resolution on the second day of a two-day special assembly session. The resolution was discussed for over three hours and was passed with a voice vote.

Both Congress and the main opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supported the resolution, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed it. BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) demanded the inclusion of Muslims in the list of those who could be granted citizenship under CAA.

“The CAA enacted by Parliament has caused countrywide anguish and social unrest with widespread protests all over the country. The state of Punjab also witnessed protests against this legislation, which were peaceful and involved all segments of our society," Mohindra said reading out the resolution, according to the Press Trust of India.

The resolution comes days after 20 opposition political parties led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi met, demanding the withdrawal of CAA. During the meeting it was decided that the parties will urge all chief ministers who have decided not to implement the National Population Register (NRC) in their states, to also consider suspending the National Population Register (NPR) enumeration “as this will be a prelude to the NRC".

To step up pressure, Kerala on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the CAA, which was notified on 10 January. According to the amended law, India will provide citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who entered the country on or before 31 December 2014.

The apex court on 10 January issued notices to all those who had filed petitions in different high courts challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA, to seek their views on the Centre’s plea to transfer their petitions to the top court. On 22 January, the court will begin hearing all the petitions challenging the CAA.

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