West Bengal on Monday became the fourth state — after Kerala, Punjab and Rajasthan — to pass a resolution in the Assembly against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The resolution, tabled by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee at a one-day special session of the Assembly, was also supported by Congress and Left members. The BJP’s MLAs opposed it.
The resolution, in Bengali, asked the Centre to take immediate steps to repeal the CAA, saying the law went against the country’s “pluralistic structure” and attempted to divide people on the basis of religion.
Speaking in the Assembly, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the CAA was “against the Constitution and humanity”. “We want this law to be repealed immediately. We want NPR to be repealed too,” she said.
The state government has already suspended work on updation of the National Population Register (NPR).
Contending that the NPR, NRC and CAA were co-related, Banerjee said the new citizenship law was “anti-people”. “We were the first Assembly to discuss the matter in September 2019. We passed a resolution against the NRC (National Register of Citizens). An atmosphere of intolerance and hatred has swept across the country. We cannot support those who aim to divide India,” she said.
She urged the Opposition CPI(M) and Congress to set aside their political differences and fight together against the “fascist BJP government” at the Centre.
Referring to the Opposition’s criticism of her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the state, Banerjee said: “We have no hidden understanding with the BJP… Our state government had the courage to skip the NPR meeting in Delhi. We made it clear that West Bengal was ready to go alone, if nobody supported us. If the BJP wants, it can dismiss my government.”
The resolution passed by the Assembly said that after the CAA was passed, there were protests in all states including West Bengal. It said that since religion was being used as a determining factor, CAA goes against the spirit of the Constitution. It said the ruling party at the Centre was using religion to divide people and destroy human rights.
The resolution also said the Centre was yet to issue clear directives regarding NPR and NRC, creating panic throughout the country. It said that while media reports quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as saying that the CAA was not meant to snatch away citizenship, this statement is not mentioned in the Act, thus creating confusion.
While the Left and Congress members wanted to bring some amendments in the resolution, the TMC opposed the move.
On January 9, the Left and Congress had brought a resolution against CAA, but the government had stopped it, saying it had passed a resolution against NRC just three months ago. Mentioning that, CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said on Monday: “What made the government stop the resolution then? And what forced the government to bring the same resolution again?”
On January 25, the Rajasthan Assembly passed a resolution against CAA — making it the second Congress-ruled state after Punjab to do so. Earlier, the Kerala Assembly had passed a resolution against the CAA, moved jointly by the ruling Left alliance and the Opposition Congress-led UDF.
The TRS government in Telangana has also announced that it will not implement the CAA.
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