Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act that was cleared by Parliament last month, the second assembly after Kerala to call for scrapping the law.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh later told reporters that his government would also move the Supreme Court against the CAA. Kerala had earlier this week joined the 60-odd petitioners who have already approached the top court against the law that lets the government fast-track citizenship request of people on grounds of religion.
The resolution said the citizenship law was ‘divisive and stands for everything opposed to a free and fair democracy, which must enshrine equality for all’.
‘Alongside the religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship, it is apprehended that the CAA is also likely to endanger the linguistic and cultural identity of some sections of our people,’ the resolution pushed by the Amarinder Singh government said.
The Aam Aadmi Party and Lok Insaf Party lawmakers supported the resolution that also opposed the provision that gives the government the power to strip Overseas Citizens of India card holders of their registration if they violate any law.
The Bharatiya Janata Party opposed the resolution. BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal, or SAD, also opposed the resolution but stressed that it wanted a change.
‘We are opposed to this resolution but want Muslims on the list of communities eligible under the CAA,’ SAD legislature party leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon told the assembly.
Dhillon’s argument was an attempt by the SAD to walk a tightrope over the amendment. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal told Hindustan Times in an interview that his party didn’t believe that there was a need for a rethink on the law but stressed that the CAA should mention minorities instead of naming religious communities (whose citizenship will be fast-tracked under the law).
‘Nobody in the country should feel that they have been omitted or left out,’ he said.
In the assembly, Dhillon also attempted to corner the Congress over its opposition to the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). ‘Two NPR surveys were conducted during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as Prime Minister, so why the opposition now?’ he asked.
At a cabinet meeting this week, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his colleagues had expressed concern over the implications of what the state calls ‘blatantly unconstitutional and divisive CAA, NRC and NPR’.
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