Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that his government will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state, PTI reported.
“The government has a clear position of the Citizenship Amendment Act,” he said at an event in Thiruvananthapuram to mark the completion of one year of the state government.
Vijayan said that the law was against the principle of secularism.
The Citizenship Amendment Act was approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019. It provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities except Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.
Indian Muslims fear the law could be used along with the National Register of Citizens to harass and disenfranchise them. The Bharatiya Janata Party has proposed the updating of the National Register of Citizens as a way to identify undocumented immigrants.
In December 2019, the Kerala Assembly had passed a resolution seeking the withdrawal of the Act. Kerala was the first among several Opposition-ruled states to have done so. Vijayan had moved the resolution saying that the law was against the secular outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
Meanwhile, Vijayan alleged on Thursday that attempts were being made to destroy secularism in India, ANI reported.
“Several surveys are being conducted in different parts of the country to create communal tension among people,” he said. “But here [in Kerala], a survey has been completed to identify the most impoverished families in our society. Further steps will be taken as part of this survey.”
The chief minister apparently referred to a video survey conducted at the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi to determine if it had been built after demolishing a Hindu temple. A district court in Varanasi is hearing the matter.
Lawyers for the Hindu plaintiffs have claimed that a shivling – a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva – was found in the wazu khana, or ablution tank, in the mosque. On the other hand, the mosque committee has claimed that the object is a part of a stone fountain in the ablution tank.
Since court hearings on the case began in April, Hindutva supremacists have made claims about existence of temples and Hindu idols at several mosques and historical monuments.