‘Attempt to polarise Lok Sabha elections’: Congress on CAA implementation

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan emphasised that CAA, which is aimed to relegate Muslims to second-class citizens in India, would not be implemented in the state.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh
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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday, March 11, notified rules under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Opposition leaders have come down heavily on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, questioning the delay in issuing the notification. According to a statement from the MHA, the process would be carried out in an online portal. 

“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will be notifying the Rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA-2019) today. These rules, called the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 will enable the persons eligible under CAA-2019 to apply for grant of Indian citizenship. The applications will be submitted in a completely online mode for which a web portal has been provided,” read the statement. 

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh stated that it took the Union government four years and three months to notify the rules for the CAA that was passed by the Parliament in December 2019. He added that the timing right before the Lok Sabha elections was aimed at polarisation, especially in West Bengal and Assam. “It also appears to be an attempt to manage the headlines after the Supreme Court’s severe strictures on the Electoral Bonds Scandal,” he added.

Addressing the media, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee said the BJP government should have notified the rules six months ago. “If there are any good things, we always support and appreciate but if anything is done that is not good for the country, TMC will always raise its voice and oppose it. I know why today's date was chosen before Ramadan. I appeal to the people to be calm and avoid any rumours," she added.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also criticised the move and said this move can only be seen as the divisive agenda of the Sangh Parivar. He emphasised that CAA, which is aimed to relegate Muslims to second-class citizens, would not be implemented in the state.

"The Union government notifying CAA rules ahead of the election is an attempt to disturb the nation. This is to inject communal divisions among the public, and to destroy the basic ideology of our constitution. Kerala was the first to pass a resolution against the CAA bill. We had announced that the National Population Register (NPR) would also not be implemented in the state. Pointing out the unconstitutional nature of the bill, the state had filed a suit in the Supreme Court against the Union government," he added.

The CAA was passed in Parliament in 2019 with an overwhelming majority of 311:80. It aimed to expedite the process of granting Indian citizenship to “persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians” from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, who entered India till December 31, 2014. The Act discriminates against Muslims, especially when combined with the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). 

Massive protests had erupted across the country following the passage of the CAA Bill. Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi became an iconic protest site for the movement against CAA and inspired similar, countless sit-ins in various cities and towns across India. 

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