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Politics

Rajasthan Joins State Governments Opposing Citizenship Amendment Act

If the government will divide people on the basis of religion, how will the nation remain undivided?” chief minister Ashok Gehlot asked.

Jaipur: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday claimed that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) would not be implemented in the state. He said that a “dangerous game” is being played out to lay the ground for making India a “Hindu rashtra”.

With this, Gehlot has joined other chief ministers in states ruled non-NDA parties who are opposing the law. So far, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, Madhya Pradesh’s Kamal Nath, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel and Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal have said that they “will not allow” the amended law to be implemented in their states.

“BJP wasn’t able to implement NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Assam where they are in power. So, now the Union home minister Amit Shah is forcing the CAA on the nation. Six to seven states have already opposed the Act” said Gehlot.

Also read: In Clamour Against CAB, the Hint of a Resolute Opposition

“The whole nation is burning, first they shut Kashmir and now north-east is burning. If the government will divide people on the basis of religion, how will the nation remain undivided?” he added.

He also claimed that his political statements are under scrutiny by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). “They (PMO) will call for today’s statements too, but I will still speak,” Gehlot said in a press conference at his residence in Jaipur

Gehlot also said that Shah had wrongly accused him of recommending citizenship to only Hindu and Sikh Pakistani migrants to former home minister P. Chidambaram.

The CM also accused the Narendra Modi government of holding up the anti-mob lynching and anti-honour killing Bills passed by the Rajasthan assembly earlier this year and reducing the states’ shares in taxes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah. Illustration: PTI/The Wire

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs seems unperturbed by the opposition from chief ministers. An official from the ministry was quoted by the Business Line as saying that state governments “have no powers” to refuse to implement the Act.

The Citizenship Amendment Act grants Indian citizenship to six non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians – provided they came to India before 2014. It was has been widely criticised, from within the country and outside, as being discriminatory against Muslims.