Conference of all Kerala political parties decide to take on CAA

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinaha

Proposals include a special session of the legislative Assembly, a joint delegation to meet the President, legal fight in the Supreme Court and protests on the ground

A conference of all political parties convened by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss the necessity for a joint exercise that will reflect the popular concerns of the people with regard to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has decided to carry out actions on various fronts, including a special session of the legislative Assembly, a joint delegation to meet the President, legal fight in the Supreme Court and protests on the ground.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala told presspersons on Sunday that the most important demand of the United Democratic Front (UDF) was a special session of the Assembly.

“A unanimous resolution has to be passed in this special meeting to protect the Constitution and to convey the State’s concerns on the CAA and the NRC to the President and the Central government. An all-party delegation will also have to be sent to meet the President. The CM has agreed to consider these requests and take a decision after consulting the Speaker and others concerned. The government also has to organise campaigns to allay the fears of the common people,” said Mr. Chennithala.

Another demand from the Opposition was for the government to desist from registering cases under stringent laws such as the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act against those protesting against the CAA and the NRC. The Chief Minister is learnt to have assured that such action will not be taken as long as the protests are democratic and peaceful.

The UDF also demanded that steps had to be taken to ensure that laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were not used against protesters. It also asked whether the State government had got any directive from the Central government on setting up detention centres. The State government will also consider being a party to the ongoing case against the CAA in the Supreme Court.

The meeting also entrusted the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to take a decision on joint protests of the Left Democratic Front and the UDF.

“No clear decision has not yet been taken on a joint protest. But, the movement against the CAA can still go on jointly in various forms, like joint delegations and united stand in the Assembly,” said Mr. Chennithala.

The proposed Constitution protection committee to mark the State’s protest against the CAA did not come up for discussion.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) national general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty, MP, said that the discussion was “fruitful”.

“There is no need for difference of opinion on these matters. The joint protest of the CM and the Opposition Leader earlier this month did provide its dividends. It is now clear that the entire State is against the BJP government’s CAA. Now, the change in tone of the Central government is evident, which is a result of all these protests,” he said.

BJP leaders walk out

Earlier, BJP leaders walked out of the joint conference. As soon as the meeting began, BJP leaders J.R. Padmakumar and M.S. Kumar demanded that the meeting be dissolved after passing a resolution against the protests faced by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan. With the Chief Minister, Mr. Chennithala and other leaders not heeding to their demands, the duo walked out.

Mr. Kumar told mediapersons that the meeting was unconstitutional.

“How can a State government convene a meeting to plan protests against a law passed by both Houses of the Parliament? We have no problem with the CPI(M) or any other party organising such protests. But the government is not supposed to organise such action. We will take all necessary steps to counter this,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:45:28 PM |

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