Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Saturday reiterated that his government would not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), saying his government would not favour such an “unfortunate situation” in the state.
His remark comes days after Home Minister Amit Shah said the process of granting citizenship to refugees under the CAA would begin after the process of Covid-19 vaccination ends. Shah had said the implementation of the law had to be kept in abeyance as a result of the pandemic.
“The country’s home minister recently said that the CAA will be implemented after the completion of the vaccination process. We have made our stand very clear. This government will not favour such an unfortunate situation in the state. We will not stand with it and we will not implement it,” said Vijayan at the inauguration of the LDF’s northern region yatra in Uppala in Kasaragod district ahead of Assembly elections later this summer.
“Some people asked us, ‘how can you claim, as a government, that you won’t implement it?’ To them, I will say that if we said we will not implement it, we will not do it,” he added.
The Citizenship Amendment Act seeks to provide Indian citizenship to religious minorities, except Muslims, from India’s three Muslim-majority neighbouring countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
“We can discuss developmental issues. But instead of that, certain people are trying to divert attention by provoking the public through communalism. It will not do any good for the state. Communalism is a danger for the state and we must be able to sweep it away,” said Vijayan, holding both the RSS and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) responsible for inflicting communal sentiments on society.
In December 2019, the Kerala Assembly had passed a resolution demanding the scrapping of the CAA, stating it was against the secular outlook and fabric of the country. Both LDF and UDF MLAs had voted in favour of the resolution with the lone BJP MLA dissenting against it.
On Saturday, the LDF’s northern region yatra, led by CPM acting secretary A Vijayaraghavan, marked the start of the Left coalition’s election preparations. Another yatra, led by CPI leader Binoy Vishwam, began from Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, making its way from the southern part of the state. Both yatras will culminate at the same place by the end of the month.
In a speech that lasted nearly 50 minutes, the chief minister claimed the people of the state have already made up their mind of the return of the LDF government. He went on to list the achievements of the government in various sectors.
“We have hiked welfare pension from Rs 600 in 2016 to Rs 1600. There are no defaults. Can this happen if not for the LDF? Will anyone else care for the poor? In 2016, there were 34 lakh beneficiaries of welfare pension. Today, it has crossed 59 lakhs. That means, 25 lakh more people have been brought under the net under this government. We have spent Rs 32,034 crores for welfare pension alone,” he said.
“The PDS ration system has changed. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we ensured that free ration was implemented very well because we didn’t want the poor to be troubled in any way,” he added.
The CM said work on the semi-high speed railway network which will help people travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in just four hours has already started. He said the state government has done its best to bring in progress despite numerous tragedies like 2017 Cyclone Ockhi, Nipah infection wave and the century’s worst floods in 2018, the monsoon severity in 2019 and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government wanted the people to be unified and the results have been fruitful. We were able to collectively face these tragedies. What were deemed impossible have been made possible,” said Vijayan.