Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam legislators on Thursday submitted a representation to Tamil Nadu Assembly Secretary K Srinivasan seeking to adopt a resolution against the amendments to the Citizenship Act, ANI reported. The Assembly will next convene on January 6.
The move came days after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act. “The Act contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who moved the resolution, had said on Tuesday. MLAs had backed the resolution almost unanimously, with the exception of O Rajagopal, the only Bharatiya Janata Party member in the Assembly. He had called it “illegal” as both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have passed the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had castigated the chief minister on Tuesday and said only Parliament has the right to frame any law regarding citizenship. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Thursday said the resolution has no constitutional or legal validity.
The chief ministers of Punjab and West Bengal have also opposed the implementation of the amended citizenship law in their states, but Kerala was the first state to take the legislature route to oppose the Act.
On December 20, Kerala stopped all work connected to the National Population Register, which is described on the Census of India website as “the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens”. On December 24, the Union government approved funds of Rs 3,900 crore for the National Population Register, which will be rolled out in April 2020. The same day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in an interview that the NPR has nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people have died so far in the protests, which have turned violent at times.
On the other hand, the National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise meant to distinguish between genuine Indian citizens and undocumented migrants living in India. One such exercise, conducted earlier this year in Assam, led to the exclusion of 19 lakh people.