Punjab passes anti-CAA resolution following Kerala

The citizenship law has sparked days of protests, clashes and riots across India. AFP file photo/ Dibyangshu Sarkar

Congress-ruled Punjab state legislative assembly today passed a resolution demanding that the Indian government scrap the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), becoming the second state to do so after Marxist-ruled Kerala.

The Punjab assembly resolution was passed by voice vote.

This is the first time that a Congress state government has got passed an anti-CAA resolution, reflecting the party's shifting the gear in the fight against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

Punjab Minister Brahm Mohindra moved the resolution against the CAA on the second day of the two-day special session.

"The CAA enacted by Parliament has caused countrywide anguish and social unrest with widespread protests all over the country. The State of Punjab also witnessed protests against this legislation, which were peaceful and involved all segments of our society," Mohindra said while reading out the resolution.

The resolution said the amended law on citizenship seeks to negate the very secular fabric on which the Constitution of India is based.

"It is divisive and stands for everything opposed to a free and fair democracy, which must enshrine equality for all. Alongside the religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship, it is apprehended that the CAA is also likely to endanger the linguistic and cultural identity of some sections of our people. CAA also envisages cancellation of the registration of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders, if they violate any law," it said.

It further said the CAA is aimed at distinguishing between illegal migrants on the basis of religion, which is not permissible under the Constitution that guarantees the right to equality and equal protection of the laws to all persons.

CAA provides for granting citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who migrated to India before December 31, 2014 but not to members of the Muslim community. The ideology behind the CAA is "inherently discriminatory and as far away as it can be from being a humanitarian measure," the resolution alleged.

"In the backdrop of these facts, it is evident that the CAA violates the secular identity of India which is basic feature of our Constitution. Therefore, the House resolves to urge the Government of India to repeal the CAA to avoid any discrimination on the basis of religion in granting citizenship and to ensure equality before law for all religious groups in India."

"Given the apprehensions about National Register of Citizens and that the National Population Register is a prelude to the NRC designed to deprive a section of persons from citizenship of India and implement CAA, this House further resolves that Central government should amend the forms/documentation associated with the NPR to allay such apprehension in the minds of the people and only thereafter undertake work of enumeration under NPR," the resolution added.