KOCHI, Dec 30:
Amid protests by many non-BJP ruled states against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the Centre on Monday said the states have to implement the legislation as it had been passed by Parliament.
“Under the Constitution, they (states) have to implement it (CAA)”, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal told a press conference convened here to convey the views of the Centre, as well as the BJP on the CAA.
The Minister also said states will have to implement the National Population Register (NPR), that is part of the Census.
His statement comes a day after a meeting of various political parties and socio-religious outfits, convened by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, decided to hold joint protests against the controversial Act.
To queries on the decision of certain non-BJP ruled states, including Kerala and West Bengal, not to implement the Act, Meghwal said “If any government says it won’t implement it, then it is not as per the Constitution, be it West Bengal Kerala, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh governments.
He pointed out that it was an act passed by Parliament and states have to follow it.
“It is in the national interest,” he said.
Meghwal’s statement also assumes significance in view of a special session of the state assembly being convened on Tuesday, which is likely to moot a resolution to express the state’s concern over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Seeking to reach out to the Muslim community protesting against the CAA, he said CAA was enacted to provide citizenship to minorities who were subjected to religious persecution in countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and Muslim citizens in India have nothing to worry.
“I want to tell the Muslim community, not only in Kerala, but the whole country, there is nothing to worry”, the Minister said when his attention was drawn to the massive rally planned by Muslim organisations in Kochi on January 1 against the CAA.
Accusing the Congress of carrying out a misinformation campaign against the CAA, he said is not good for the country.
The Minister lashed out at senior Congress leader P Chidambaram over NPR issue, saying it was launched during his tenure as Home Minister.
The first form under the NPR was filled by then President, Pratibha Patil.
“Chidambaram spoke for more than 30 minutes in Parliament in favour of NPR. Then it was ok. Now it is not ok. How it can happen?” Meghwal said
He was responding to queries on the decision of the Kerala and West Bengal governments to stop all activities in connection with the National Population Register in their states, considering ‘apprehensions’ of the public that it would lead to NRC in the wake of the controversial citizenship act.
Earlier, Chidambaram had alleged that the NPR approved by the BJP government was different and dangerous in terms of the “text and context” of the data collection done in 2010.
Charging the BJP government with having a “sinister agenda”, he had said if the BJP’s motives are bonafide, the Government should unconditionally state that they support the NPR form and design of 2010 and did not intend to link it to the controversial NRC. (PTI)