As protests continue in pockets of Tamil Nadu against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), the state government is firefighting allegations of working against minority communities. Ministers in the state cabinet have been forced to constantly clarify their stance on the subject and provide reassurances that minorities will 'not be affected' by the implementation of Act and the enumeration exercise.
The latest to join these efforts is Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju, who claimed that the government under Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will not allow minorities in the state to be affected.
"As far as Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami is concerned, he follows the same path of protection paved by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa when it comes to matters concerning minority communities. In fact, he is more sympathetic towards them than even Amma," the Minister said in Madurai.
These clarifications come after multiple allegations of the AIADMK being anti-minority by the DMK, the principal opposition party. Even Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had to provide reassurance to quell fears.
"If you have any details or documents you can give. It is not compulsory," he said referring to the NPR. "The same exercise that the DMK undertook in 2011, the Centre is undertaking now. You can reveal the details if you want or don't need to. But they (DMK) are still spreading fear amongst minorities about this. But no minorities will be affected by this," he said, referring to the first time the NPR exercise was carried out under the UPA government, which included the DMK.
However, even members in the AIAMDK remain on the edge about the CAA and NPR, with Muslim leaders specifically expressing their criticism over the implementation. NPR is scheduled to take place between April and September this year.
TN Labour Minister Nilofer Kafeel of the AIADMK, former AIADMK MP Anhwar Raja and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi MLA Thamimun Ansar, an ally of the ruling party,i are amongst those who have openly voiced their apprehension and dissent regarding the Act.
In January, Thamimun Ansari even staged a walkout from the Assembly in protest against CAA. The MLA had worn a printed t-shirt that said 'No NRC, NPR and CAA' on the front and had pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and Subash Chandra Bose on the back.
The AIADMK had voted in support of the CAA in both House of Parliament.