The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution in the state Assembly demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, NDTV reported. It is the second state after Kerala to make such a move to oppose the law.
Earlier in the day, the Congress government in Punjab moved the resolution in the state Assembly. The resolution stated that the amended Citizenship Act was “divisive and stands for everything opposed to a free and fair democracy”. “Alongside the religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship, it is apprehended that the CAA is also likely to endanger the linguistic and cultural identity of some sections of our people. CAA also envisages cancellation of the registration of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders, if they violate any law,” it said.
The resolution said that the amended citizenship law was aimed at differentiating between undocumented migrants on the basis of religion, which it added was not permissible under the Constitution. “...the House resolves to urge the Government of India to repeal the CAA to avoid any discrimination on the basis of religion in granting citizenship and to ensure equality before law for all religious groups in India.
The Assembly also urged the Centre to amend the documentation associated with the National Population Register to quell doubts among the public before they begin work on it. It said that there were apprehensions about the National Register of Citizens and that the population register was a “prelude to the NRC” that the resolution said was designed to strip citizenship of certain sections.
State minister Brahm Mohindra moved the resolution against the amended law on the second day of the two-day special Assembly session. “The CAA enacted by Parliament has caused countrywide anguish and social unrest with widespread protests all over the country,” he said while reading the resolution. “The state of Punjab also witnessed protests against this legislation, which were peaceful and involved all segments of our society.”
The Punjab government had on Tuesday decided to go by the “will of the House” on the way forward with respect to the Citizenship Amendment Act, the NRC and the NPR.
After a Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s colleagues in the ministry had also expressed concern over the implications of the “blatantly unconstitutional and divisive” law. “The ministers were of the view that the matter was bound to be raised during the two-day session of the assembly on January 16 to 17 and it was unanimously decided that the government should accept the will of the House,” an official statement had said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 and notified on January 10, 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 19 people have died in Uttar Pradesh alone during clashes between the police and those protesting against the Act, and 26 nationwide.