FM Sitharaman hints at the amendment to citizenship act for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees

AHEAD of the Supreme Court takes up hearing pleas against the amended citizenship amendment act approved by Parliament in December last challenging its constitutional validity, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said no state can bar implementation of the federal legislation. Speaking at Chennai, the nerve centre of Dravidian politics on Sunday, January 19, she made it clear that State legislative Assemblies may pass resolutions against the CAA but state governments are duty bound to implement the Act. It is unconstitutional” that some States said CAA would not be implemented. All states have the responsibility to ensure a law passed by parliament is enforced. Defending the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, she maintained there should not be confused about the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register and the CAA and appealed to those opposing the CAA not to make allegations that it would lead to unrest among the public, reports agencies. Refuting allegation the NDA Government was selective in granting citizenship, said Bollywood singer of   Pakistani origin singer Adnan Sami and over 3,900 others from neighbouring countries had been given citizenship in the last six years. Speaking at an interactive event here on the controversial CAA organised by the Chennai Citizens’ Forum, she said the resolutions passed by some State Assemblies, including Kerala, against the law was a political statement. Saying they will not implement it, then it is against the law. It is unconstitutional to say that… Everybody in this country has the responsibility to implement the law which has been passed in Parliament,” she said. The Kerala and Punjab Assemblies have adopted resolutions demanding repeal of the CAA which has triggered widespread protests across the country. Kerala Government has also moved the Supreme Court against the law. Several non NDA  State Governments, including Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra have voiced their disagreement with the CAA, as well as the NRC and the NPR. The Centre has granted citizenship to about 4.61 lakh Sri Lankan Tamil refugees between 1964 and 2008.An amendment to facilitate another batch of Lankan Tamil refugees “may come. It is not democracy if you raise slogans without understanding why the amendment was brought… people may rally behind the opposition initially but once they discern the truth, they would cease to support them,” she said.SL Tamils too will get citizenship, says FM. Responding to a specific question from the audience that it was against the constitution for States to say they will not implement the Act.“Since the Act has been passed by Parliament, State governments are duty bound to implement the Act. However, if you (State Legislative Assemblies) want to pass a resolution in the Assembly (against the Act), you can do so. But you can’t say no to the Act,” she said. On the demand by the DMK and other parties to include Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in the Act, the Finance Minister said already the Centre had granted citizenship to about 4.61 lakh Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and “an amendment for another batch of refugees may come.” “Amendments to the Citizenship Act are made for the benefit of certain sections in the country, there are 95,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in India and the process of granting them citizenship will start,” she said.The Finance Minister said since the last six years, India has granted citizenship to 2,838 Pakistan nationals, 914 Afghanis, 172 Bangladeshis, and a large number of Muslims were included among them.“Till 2014, over 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were given Indian citizenship. During 2016-18 under the Modi government, around 1,595 Pakistani migrants besides 391 Afghanistan Muslims were given Indian citizenship,” she said.As Congress leaders are divided on CAA, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has repeatedly declared that no state government can stop its enforcement.BJP has launched vigorous movement to counter the opposition parties opposing the contentious legislation.(edited by PK Chakravarty)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *