The Telangana government led by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday appealed to the Centre to abrogate the Citizenship Amendment Act to prevent discrimination of people on the basis of religion.
A resolution to this effect was passed by the state cabinet after a marathon meeting that ended late in the night. The cabinet also decided to adopt a resolution in the forthcoming budget session of the state assembly opposing the implementation of the CAA. The budget session is expected to commence in the second week of March.
The Telangana cabinet’s decision came within hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi making it clear at Varanasi that there was no question of reviewing the CAA that fast tracks Indian citizenship to non-Muslim illegal migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The cabinet appealed to the Centre that there should be no discrimination in granting Indian citizenship on the basis of religion. It requested that all religions must be treated as equal before the law.
“The cabinet requested the Central government to take measures to abrogate the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 which will lead to discriminate on the basis of religion while granting citizenship and thereby jeopardising secularism envisaged in the constitution,” an official communication from the chief minister’s office (CMO) said.
The cabinet also decided to pass a resolution to this effect in the State Assembly. Four other non-BJP ruled states – Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal states – have already done so. The CAA has sparked protests in various parts of the country.
At a press conference last month, the chief minister announced that he would lead a nation-wide movement against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and conduct a meeting of all regional parties and like-minded chief ministers in Hyderabad opposing the legislations, which he said were anti-constitutional.
Describing the enactment of the CAA as the biggest blunder committed by the Narendra Modi government, KCR had accused the BJP of segregating the people of the country in the name of religion.
“If we can’t speak against such dangerous acts, we would be doing great injustice to the people and democracy of the country,” he said.
He had also appealed to the Supreme Court to take up the issue of CAA suo motu and strike down the Act on the grounds of its “unconstitutionality”.
The chief minister said India cannot be converted into a Hindu nation. “We are a secular country. This country belongs to the people. We should continue to be secular”, he asserted.
KCR wondered why the BJP was raising such “irrelevant issues” like CAA and NRC, when there were other important issues like economic crisis, unemployment and development of weaker sections and scheduled tribes that were plaguing the nation.
“Obviously, the BJP wants to divert the people’s attention from these crucial issues by taking up CAA and NRC,” he had said.