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West Bengal Assembly passes resolution against CAA

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing TMC Chhatra Parshad (TMC students wing) students during their protest dharma against CAA, NPR and NRC in Kolkata, on January 15, 2020.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing TMC Chhatra Parshad (TMC students wing) students during their protest dharma against CAA, NPR and NRC in Kolkata, on January 15, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab have already passed resolutions against the new citizenship law.

The West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a resolution urging the Union government to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). 

The resolution, moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee under Rule 169 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Assembly, was passed unanimously by the House, with Congress and Left members, along with those of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), supporting it. The BJP opposed it.

The resolution noted that since the CAA was passed there was violence in “almost every State.” In the CAA, “religion has been used as a yardstick to measure eligibility to apply for Indian citizenship” and “the ruling party in the Centre has been driving a wedge among the people using religion [thus] damaging human rights,” it said.

The resolution criticised the Centre for issuing a notice to conduct a National Population Register (NPR) and a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) “without clear guidelines”, creating “panic among people”. It pointed out that on July 31, 2018, the State Assembly passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the NRC in Assam, and followed it with another resolution on September 6, 2019 that opposed NRC in West Bengal.

“This House has been informed by the news media that the Prime Minister has informed that the CAA will not be used to take away anyone’s right to citizenship. However, [this information] has not been mentioned in the CAA, which has created confusion,” the Monday resolution said.

A humanity issue: Mamata

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the CAA as something that was against the spirit of the Constitution and demanded its repeal. “It is not a small Hindu Muslim issue...the issue is of humanity...this law is a shame on humanity.” The BJP was trying to do some experiments based on their party manifesto and it did not care about the country, she alleged. 

Ms. Banerjee said the Left and Congress MLAs should not raise slogans comparing her with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Modi and Didi are not same. This slogan will get back to you as a boomerang…[Our] votes were not transferred to the BJP, it was your votes. This is not the time to fight among us, but fight against dictatorship”.

The CAA, the NPR and the NRC were all the part of the same plan. “We will not accept CAA, NPR and NRC”. People were living in fear and queuing up for all kinds of certificate. The BJP was immersed in politics of hatred and that was the reason why everyone in the Assembly was opposing the resolution except three or four (BJP) members. “You [BJP] can continue with your politics of vendetta. We are ready to fight the BJP politically on this,” the Chief Minister said.

Fight BJP jointly, says Mannan

Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan welcomed the resolution and referred to the unprecedented security arrangements in the city when the Prime Minister visited Kolkata earlier this month. The anger of people was so much that he had to travel by air and water and avoided roads. Political parties opposed to fascist policies should leave small differences and join the fight against BJP. To fight Hitler, Stalin and Churchill had to come together, he added.

Leader of the Left Legislature Party Sujan Chakraborty, while supporting the resolution, said the CAA was not only anti-Muslim but anti-poor also. He spoke about the protests in the country against the CAA. The new law had sullied the image of the country in global platform. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA suggested that the State government start the practice of reading the preamble of the Constitution in schools. 

A similar proposal was made by Mr. Mannan.

BJP MLA Swadhin Sarkar thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for passing the resolution. Opposing the resolution, Mr. Sarkar referred to the violence in certain parts of the State while opposing the Act. The CAA would not have any affect on the existing citizens of the country, he pointed out.

All India Forward Bloc member Ali Imran Ramz said the TMC accepted the proposal of Opposition parties brought earlier this year that Bengal would have been “the first or second to pass the resolution but now the State is fourth to pass the resolution”. He described the NPR as the first step towards a nationwide NRC, and urged the Chief Minister not to suspend the NPR exercise for time being but completely reject it.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) MLA Rohit Sharma supported the resolution,saying the CAA was a foul cry of turning a “secular India into Hindu rashtra”.

Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab — have already passed resolutions against the new citizenship law.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 6:53:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/west-bengal-govt-tables-anti-caa-resolution-in-assembly/article30664646.ece

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