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Throughout State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac’s speech, he criticised the Centre for the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.

Painting of Mahatma Gandhi assassination printed on cover of Kerala Budget speech
news Kerala Budget Friday, February 07, 2020 - 16:16

On Friday, as State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac presented the Kerala budget 2020, many noticed the cover page of the speech he carried — the painting ‘Death of Gandhi’ by Tom Vattakuzhy. The painting depicts a blood-spattered Gandhi fatally wounded as mourners gather around him.

"The message is yes, we remember that Mahatma was murdered by Hindu communalists. Hindu communalists who are revered today by the ruling party at the Central government. We want to remind [them],” the minister told journalists.

Throughout his speech, the minister criticised the Centre for the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.

Minister Thomas Isaac began his session noting that the budget was presented at a time when India was facing unusual challenges. In his introduction, he pointed to Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens-related protests across the country and said that autocracy and democracy were at odds against each other.

Criticising the Centre, Thomas Isaac said that national leaders only speak the language of hate and their followers believe it is their duty to inflict violence.

The Finance Minister added a number of poems and literary quotes to his budget presentation to convey the state of affairs in the country. He said that the fear caused by the CAA and NRC is indescribable.

“Fear is a nation, their silence is the government,” he said, quoting 15-year-old poet Dhrupat Gautam from Wayanad.

He noted that even children were fearful of the new measures. "A house that was mistakenly drawn; Was rubbed by a child using eraser," he said, quoting a poem by PN Gopikrishnan. Referring to the poem, the minister said the Centre plans to erase the citizenship of many people just as easily.

Another major literary citation was from Bennyamin's Manjapoo niramulla pakalukal.

"After 3 in the noon; people started walking in the streets. Some held the national flag and some others the white flag that represents peace. Some had covered themselves with the national flag through which they conveyed that the country was theirs," the minister quoted. He said the writer was foretelling the human chain against CAA and NRC on January 26, 2020.

Thomas Isaac noted that India was going through its biggest agitation since Independence. He also said that Kerala has been setting an example in the dispute, and that Keralites can be proud.

"Other states in the country welcomed the LDF and UDF joining hands against CAA, setting apart all political differences. The Chief Minister and Opposition Leader together at the same venue for the protest had excited the rest of the country. We were together in passing the Assembly resolution against this communal amendment. We also filed a case in the Supreme Court based on Article 130. I feel proud about this," he said.

Quoting writer KG Sankara Pillai, he said there is nothing more beautiful than the goodness that rushes to put a stop to the loud cries. 

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