Like Kerala, Punjab government would also approach the Supreme Court on the issue, chief minister says.
CHANDIGARH — Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) moved by the ruling Congress.
State Minister Brahm Mohindra moved the resolution against the CAA on the second day of the two-day special Assembly session that got the support of the main opposition AAP.
Now, Punjab has become the second state to pass a resolution against the CAA after Kerala.
Though the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an alliance partner of the BJP in the state, opposed the resolution but protested against the non-inclusion of Muslims under the CAA.
Local Bodies and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra while reading out the resolution said, “The CAA enacted by Parliament has caused countrywide anguish and social unrest with widespread protests all over the country. The state of Punjab also witnessed protests against this legislation, which were peaceful and involved all segments of our society.”
He favoured doing away with the CAA, saying it was “against secular values”.
AAP legislator Aman Arora said the law was enacted to divert attention from “bigger issues”, while SAD’s Sharanjit Dhillon said that the Muslims should not be left out of the CAA ambit.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the issue of CAA had shaken the entire country, reports IANS.
Describing the controversial legislation as ‘inherently discriminatory’ and a negation of the very secular fabric on which the Constitution of India is based, the Assembly adopted by voice vote a hard-hitting resolution seeking immediate repeal of the unconstitutional CAA, which the Chief Minister compared to the ethnic and religious cleansing in Hitler’s Germany.
Clearly, no lessons had been learnt from history, said a visibly anguished Chief Minister during the discussion on the resolution, which also urged the Central Government 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).
Talking informally to the media outside the House, the Chief Minister said the Centre would have to make the necessary amendments to the CAA if it had to be implemented in Punjab and other states opposing the legislation.
Like Kerala, his government would also approach the Supreme Court on the issue, he added.
Terming the divisive Act as a tragedy that he was unfortunate to witness in his lifetime, the Chief Minister earlier said in the House that “what happened in Germany under Hitler in 1930 is happening in India now.”
“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 Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ to understand the dangers of the CAA.
He said he would get the book translated and distributed so that all could read and grasp the historical mistakes that Hitler made.
“What is happening in India is not good for the country,” said Amarinder Singh, adding that people could see and understand, and were protesting spontaneously without any instigation.
Making an impassioned plea to the Akalis to rise above politics and think about their own country before deciding on their vote, he said he had never imagined such a tragedy could happen in a secular nation 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 the Home Minister 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, declaring that “we all have to live together as citizens of secular India in our own interest.”
People of all faiths have lived harmoniously together in this country all these years, and Muslims have given their lives for this country, said the Chief Minister, citing the example of Indian Army soldier Abdul Hamid, who received the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his actions during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, just like many others.
The Cellular Jail in Andamans was full of Muslim names, he pointed out.
“Why have Muslims been excluded? And why have they (Centre) not included Jews in the CAA?”, asked Amarinder Singh, pointing out that India had a Jew Governor, General Jacob, who also fought for the nation in the 1971 war.
Those responsible for this situation should be ashamed of themselves, said the Chief Minister, even as he lashed out at the Akalis for supporting the legislation in Parliament and then speaking on it in different voices to promote their political agenda.
(With inputs from IANS)