The Kerala government on Friday advertised its decision to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act on the front pages of at least three national dailies.
The advertisements were put up on the front pages of the Delhi editions of The Indian Express, the flaps on the Hindustan Times, and The Times of India. “We are one, first” reads the advertisement. “The state is leading the efforts to protests constitutional values. The Kerala Legislative Assembly became the first in the Union to pass a unanimous resolution against the discriminatory CAA.”
The ad further reads: “The state has taken bold initiatives to address the apprehensions of the public. Kerala stayed NPR procedures that can lead to a National Register of Citizens. Kerala also continued to lead in Human Development Index.” It added that Kerala ranked first in poverty education, health standards, standard of education, gender equality, realising novel ideas. “The onward march continues,” it concludes.
On December 31, the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution against the amended citizenship law. Vijayan, a strong critic of the CAA and the NRC, had then said the amended law was against the secular outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
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 in his state. 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.
On January 3, Vijayan wrote to his chief ministers in 11 states ruled by parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party, and asked them to take measures against the Citizenship Amendment Act. He wrote that the need of the hour was unity among all Indians “who wish to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism”.
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. Vijyan urged them 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.