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'India Works on Principle of Secularism': CM Vijayan Says Kerala Won't Implement CAA

Vijayan also said that the state will not determine citizenship based on religion and that "Nowadays, attempts are being made to destroy secularism".

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New Delhi: Speaking at an event on Thursday, June 2, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan once again asserted that the state government will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.

Vijayan’s remarks came at an event in state capital Thiruvananthapuram to commemorate the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s first anniversary of its second term in power. 

“The government has a clear position on the CAA. That will continue,” news agency ANI quoted the chief minister as saying. 

The Vijayan-led government has long expressed its opposition to the citizenship law, even challenging it in the Supreme Court in 2020, arguing that it is violative of Articles 14 (right to equality before the law), 21 (right to life and personal liberty) and 25 (freedom of religion).

Vijayan also stated that the state government would not determine citizenship based on religion, a sentiment he has expressed several times in the past.

Further, while stressing that India works on the principle of secularism, he said, “Nowadays, attempts are being made to destroy secularism.”

Also read: Why The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill Is Unconstitutional

“Several surveys are being conducted in different parts of the country to create communal tension among the people,” he further said, ostensibly a reference to the videographic survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in a case where five Hindu petitioners sought access to the mosque and the permission to worship inside of it.

After the Gyanvapi case made headlines, a similar demand sprung up in Mathura, seeking a videographic survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque to ascertain whether or not ‘Hindu artefacts’ are present within the mosque, located near Krishna Janmabhoomi, where Lord Krishna is believed to have been born.

“But here, a survey has been conducted to identify the most impoverished families in our society. Further steps will be taken as part of this survey,” Vijayan continued.

The CAA was passed by both houses of Parliament in 2019. The Act provides for people from six religious backgrounds – Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Buddhist and Jain – to be made citizens of India provided they have been living in the country since before the cut-off date of December 31, 2014.

The Act conspicuously leaves out Muslims from its purview. The Union government justified this omission by saying that the members of the six religions mentioned above were forced to flee to India due to religious persecution in India’s Muslim-majority neighbours – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The Act saw opposition and protest from various corners which argued that ‘religious persecution’ was being used as a guise to remove a portion of India’s Muslim population from the citizenship pool, when enacted along with another controversial mechanism – the National Register of Citizens.

Also read: Unable to Get Citizenship, 800 Pakistani Hindus Returned From India in 2021: Report

Despite the widespread protests, the Union government brought the Act into effect on January 10, 2020 through a home ministry notification. The Kerala government had, at that time itself, said that it would not implement the legislation, along with two other opposition-ruled states – Punjab and West Bengal.

However, the Act is yet to be implemented as the rules for the same have not yet been framed.

Earlier this month, home minister Amit Shah accused the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal of lying when it said it would not implement the CAA. 

Addressing a gathering during his visit to Siliguri, Shah said that CAA will be implemented in the state as soon as the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.