The Telangana Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, the proposed National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register, PTI reported. The resolution was moved by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who said the three exercises will result in the exclusion of a large number of people from the ambit of citizenship.
In the resolution, the members of the Telangana Assembly urged the Centre to remove all references to any religion or to any foreign country in the Citizenship Act. “Besides violating principles of equality, non-discrimination and secularism, the concerted attempt would also endanger the lives of vulnerable groups who did not possess documentary proof of citizenship,” it added, according to The Hindu. “Moreover, there are serious questions as to the legality and constitutionality of the CAA, NPR and NRC.”
While introducing the resolution in the House, Rao expressed concern about how for the first time, religion had become a criteria for determining one’s citizenship in the country.
The resolution further urges the Telangana government to take all necessary steps to protect all people in the state from the NPR-NRC exercise. “By discarding secularism and equality before law in our citizenship laws, a theocratic state may be institutionalised,” the resolution said. “Therefore, this is nothing less than an attempt to fundamentally alter and undermine the non-religious nature of Indian citizenship.”
Telangana Assembly is the only state to pass a resolution against all the three, and is the fifth state after Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal, and Rajasthan to pass a resolution against the new citizenship law. Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal and Left-led Kerala have also passed orders stopping work on the population register.
On February 23, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that NPR will not be implemented in the state in its new form, but only according to its 2010 format. He had also asserted that NRC would not be implemented under his administration.
Last week, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government, which is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre, said it had not begun work on the population register. The administration said it would do so only after the Centre clarified certain aspects of the exercise, assuaging fears of minority communities. On March 13, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against the NPR exercise, claiming it would also impact the majority population.
The National Register of Citizens is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented immigrants. One such exercise, carried out in Assam last year, resulted in the exclusion of 19 lakh people. As first reported by Scroll.in, the National Population Register is the first step to creating NRC. While the Narendra Modi administration has claimed that the new citizenship law will not take away anyone’s citizenship, the government’s critics fear that the amended law and the National Register of Citizens will be misused to target Muslims since the Citizenship Act now has religion as a criterion.