The Assembly on Tuesday just about unanimously passed a resolution pressurising the Centre to withdraw the “patently anti-Muslim” Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
O. Rajagopal, the only Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, was the sole dissenting voice in the House. Treasury and Opposition benches heckled him when he attempted to defend the CAA.
In a rare show of political bipartisanship, ruling and Opposition members were in complete accord that the new citizenship law chipped away at the secular foundation of the Constitution.
As if of one mind, the LDF and UDF members lacerated the Central government for passing a controversial law that set “religion as a criterion” for granting citizenship to naturalised refugees and migrants.
In turns, they said the CAA was the BJP’s attempt to hack away at the secular foundation of the Constitution. Implemented in tandem with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), the CAA would relegate lakhs of naturalised Muslims to the status of illegal infiltrators and Stateless people.
Sri Lankan Tamil refugees of Islamic faith and lakhs of ethnic and tribal minorities in north east India would bear the brunt of the bigoted law.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who spearheaded the attack on the Centre, said the RSS, the ideological fountain head of the BJP, patterned itself on the German Nazis who prided themselves to be pure Aryans.
Likewise, the RSS sought to “racially purify Hindustan” by introducing prejudicial laws aimed at incrementally ridding the country of religious, ethnic and linguistic minorities or reducing such groups to subaltern status.
The RSS considered Muslims a hindrance to its bid to reshape India into a Hindu majoritarian State, wherein religion and caste of persons determined their social status, line of work and chances of social mobility.
The RSS attempted to portray liberal and secular voices opposed to the criminalisation of Muslim divorce law and the CAA as fifth columnists, agents of forces inimical to the country.
Congress lawmaker V.D. Satheesan said laws analogous to the CAA that set religion and race as the criteria for granting citizenship had triggered the holocaust in Europe and more recently the State-sponsored liquidation of the Rohingya Muslim community in neighbouring Myanmar.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the very idea of India was under threat. The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh had threatened to take revenge against anti-CAA protesters. The RSS, which sided with the British in the Independence struggle and betrayed the crusade for freedom, sought to undermine the secular and democratic dividends of the hard-won liberty.
It had jailed three former Chief Ministers in Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre had turned the entire State into a gulag. The passage of the resolution condemning the CAA by the House with one mind was a watershed in the history of law-making, he said.