Stating that the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act was against the secular fabric of the country, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday claimed that events unfolding now bear similarity to the ones witnessed in Germany in 1930s when Adolf Hitler was at the helm.
“You want to change secular fabric of this country. It is very sad what is happening now. We had not even thought of such a thing. We want to break brotherhood merely for politics,” Singh said while participating in the discussion in the state Assembly on a resolution against the CAA. “Clearly, no lessons have been learnt from history,” he added.
The Punjab Assembly, through voice vote, passed the resolution against the controversial CAA and sought its repeal by the Centre. Shortly after passing the resolution, CM Amarinder also said that his government will move the Supreme Court on the issue.
“Like Kerala, our government will also approach the Supreme Court on the issue,” Singh told reporters in an informal chat outside the state Assembly.
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With this, Congress-ruled Punjab became the second state after Kerala to bring in an Assembly resolution seeking the repeal of the CAA and move the top court.
Besides asking the Centre to avoid any discrimination on the basis of religion in granting citizenship, the resolution urged the Centre to put on hold the work on the National Population Register (NPR) till forms or documents associated with it are amended suitably in order to allay apprehensions that it is a prelude to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and designed to deprive a section of people from citizenship of India and implement the CAA.
In an emotional tone, Amarinder said, “Where will poor go and from where will they procure their birth certificates…This is a great tragedy. And I am very sorry to say that in my lifetime…I wish I was not here when this is happening to my country, where are we going to be in a situation where brotherhood is being broken for politics.”
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He said it was ethnic cleansing in Hitler’s Germany in 1930s and claimed that now same events are unfolding in India.
“Germans did not speak then, and they regretted it, but we have to speak now, so that we don’t regret later,” he asserted, urging the Opposition, particularly the Akalis, to read Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ to “understand the dangers” of the CAA.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which voted in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament, supported the state government’s resolution in the Assembly. SAD leader Bikram Majithi said, “If people have to stand in line and confirm where they were born, then we are against any legislation like this.”
The Chief Minister also said he had never imagined such a tragedy could happen in a secular country like India, which had more Muslims than Pakistan.
“Where will all those people, who you brand as non-citizens, go? Where will the 18 lakh people declared illegal in Assam go if other countries refuse to take them? Has anyone thought about it? Has Union Home Minister Amit Shah even thought about what has to be done with the so-called illegal people? Where will the poor people get their birth certificates from?” asked the chief minister.
“We all have to live together as citizens of secular India in our own interest,” he added.
“People of all faiths have lived harmoniously together in this country all these years, and Muslims have given their lives for this country,” Singh said, citing the example of Indian Army soldier Abdul Hamid, who received the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his actions during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
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