Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday wrote to his counterparts in 11 states ruled by parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party, and asked them to take measures against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported. Vijayan reached out to the chief ministers days after the state Assembly had passed a resolution against the amended citizenship law.
“The need of the hour is unity among all Indians who wish to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism,” the letter read. “People from various cross sections of the society irrespective of any difference they might have, need to stand united in preserving the basic tenets of our polity which form the cornerstone of Indian democracy.”
The letter was sent to chief ministers of 11 states, including BJP ally Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren, Andhra Pradesh’s Jaganmohan Reddy, and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy, among others.
At least 26 people have died in nationwide protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed 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.
Vijayan urged states to follow measures similar to the ones adopted by his administration against the Citizenship Amendment Act, saying that it will be an “eye-opener to the proponents of the CAA and the NRC [National Register of Citizens]”, The New Indian Express reported. While presenting the resolution in Kerala Assembly on Tuesday, Vijayan had said the amended law was against the secular outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship. “The Act contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution,” he said.
Last month, the state had stopped all work connected to the National Population Register too. The chief minister has repeatedly expressed his disappointment with the amended legislation and refused to implement it. The population register is linked to the census, due in 2021, and is described as “the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens”. The NRC is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented migrants.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the Centre rejected the Kerala government’s Republic Day tableau proposal for the second consecutive year along with those of West Bengal, Maharashtra and Bihar. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government said the central government’s decision was politically motivated