Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday said his government would not implement the National Register of Citizens, NDTV reported. Reddy’s party, the YSR Congress Party, had voted for the amendments to the Citizenship Act in both Houses of Parliament earlier this month.
While the Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to people from six persecuted religious communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh – except Muslims – the stated objective of the National Register of Citizens is to identify undocumented migrants. The register left out around 19 lakh people in Assam. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has repeatedly said the register will be made applicable throughout the country, and has linked the Citizenship Amendment Act to the National Register of Citizens.
“I was asked by my minority brothers to make a statement on the NRC,” Reddy said. “I want to make it clear that we will oppose the NRC and there is no way Andhra Pradesh will support it.” Reddy said his deputy Azmath Basha Shaik Bepari had consulted him before declaring that the exercise would not be implemented in the state.
Reddy is the third leader of a political party that does not always vehemently oppose the Bharatiya Janata Party to come out against the National Register of Citizens. National Democratic Alliance partner and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik have also refused to implement it in their states.
Last week, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi had asked Reddy to reconsider his decision to support the BJP on the Citizenship Amendment Act, News18 reported. “I request my good friend Jagan Reddy to reconsider his decision on supporting the BJP on the CAA,” Owaisi said. “I know he has to run a government, but this is about saving the country. Only if your country is secure, we can run governments.”
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens have engulfed India in the past two weeks. The protests saw peaceful marches as well as intense clashes between the police and the demonstrators. At least 24 people have died so far, including 17 in Uttar Pradesh itself.