Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Friday wrote letters to 11 non-BJP chief ministers in the country in a bid to build unity among the states against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) enacted by Parliament in December last year. The move comes days after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution demanding the scrapping of the controversial law that seeks to give citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Vijayan has written letters to chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Puducherry, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Bihar is the only state among the lot where the BJP is an alliance partner. The rest of the states are ruled by Congress, Congress-led coalitions and regional parties.
In his letter, CM Vijayan writes, “Apprehensions have risen among large sections of our society consequent to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The need of the hour is unity among all Indians to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism. People from various cross-sections of the society irrespective of any differences they might have a need to stand united in preserving the basic tenets of our polity which form the cornerstone of Indian democracy.”
He points to the Kerala government’s decision to suspend all activities of the National Population Register (NPR) in the state and for taking up a resolution that ultimately received bipartisan support from all MLAs except the lone BJP MLA from Nemom, O Rajagopal.
“States which have the opinion that CAA should be repealed can also consider similar steps so that it will be an eye-opener to the proponents of the CAA and NRC,” writes Vijayan in the letter.
All the 11 chief ministers, including the recently-elected Hemant Soren of Jharkhand, have indicated their opposition to the NRC exercise. Massive protests have been held across the country by Muslim organisations, civil society groups, students and the public against CAA-NRC alleging that the move is discriminatory and violates article 13 and 14 of the constitution.