The Telangana State (TS) Legislative Assembly, by way of a resolution passed on March 16, Monday, has opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR), and National Register of Citizens (NRC), asserting these formed part of concerted attempts to tinker with the inclusive and non-religious nature of citizenship.

The resolution urged the Central government to amend Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 in order to remove all references to any religion or to any foreign country. Earlier, moving the resolution, the chief minister termed CAA a divisive legislation and urged the Centre to abrogate it.

Expressing concern over the proposed implementation of NPR and NRC which might result in exclusion of large number of people, the resolution urged the State Government to take all necessary steps to safeguard the people from such exercises.

The CM, who introduced the resolution, said : “ We are opposing the CAA, NPR, and NRC after fully understanding their implications… I assure you that we will protect our people at any cost.” 

The resolution, moved by the Chief Minister, was passed by a voice vote. The Congress and TRS ally MIM supported the resolution. BJP’s lone Member, Raja Singh, opposed the resolution and tore it off in the House. In the Telangana assembly, the ruling TRS has 103 out of the 119 seats, while the main opposition Congress has just six, Telugu Desam Party two, BJP one and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) seven. The TRS had won 88 seats in the 2018 December state elections (Congress had won 19), after which 12 MLAs from the Congress and two TDP MLAs defected to the TRS.

With this, Telangana Assembly has become the eighth State Legislature to pass resolutions on the question.   The resolution also covered NPR and NRC, like those of Rajasthan (Jan 25), and Puducherry (Feb12). West Bengal (Jan 27), Kerala (Dec 31) , Rajasthan (Jan 25), Punjab (Jan 17), passed resolutions against CAA, and said they would not allow NRC and NPR also in their states, reported TOI. Delhi (March 13) and Bihar (Feb 25) passed resolutions against NPR and NRC. Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government (Feb5) too opposed the Centre’s moves and the State Cabinet had passed a resolution opposing the process.

Andhra Pradesh led by Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Party had voted with the Modi Government on CAA, but like JDU of Nitish Kumar, is taking a u-turn on NPR and NCR. Spokespersons said it would pass a resolution seeking the old format for NPR.

The Telangana resolution does not explicitly say that NPR work will be stopped, Times of India pointed out, but official sources said it would not implement it in the present format.

There were protests across Telangana in which KCR’s silence and equivocation at one stage were questioned. Permission was denied at one stage, as to Jan 4-5 rallies against CAA/NRC. TRS ally MIM had also urged KCR to come out openly. Municipal elections were going on in Telangana, and BJP was waiting to exploit the situation by blaming the TRS to be a pro-Muslim party, saying its ally MIM was holding the car (TRS election symbol) key. However, the government took a position against the CAA at its cabinet meeting (on February 16). And now came the resolution.       

The Telangana resolution said:

“The Indian national movement was a convergence of various beliefs, thoughts and ideas. Upon Independence, our founders embraced diversity, pluralism and secularism in the Constitution. The enactment of CAA has raised concerns that by introducing a religious test for citizenship, the Act insults the memory of India’s founders, who consciously chose not to incorporate a ‘racial principle’ or ‘religious principle’ in the provisions applicable to citizenship.”

It said that the Act makes people belonging to certain religious eligible for Indian citizenship while excluding other persons solely on the basis of religion.

It referred to statements by ministers of government of India as well as government of Assam that the CAA is to be used in order to protect non-Muslims who may have been excluded from the NRC in Assam, and in future, in the rest of India.

“Therefore, this is nothing less than an attempt to fundamentally alter and undermine the non-religious nature of Indian citizenship,” reads the resolution.

It noted that there have been concerted attempts to tinker with the inclusive and non-religious nature of Indian citizenship through CAA, NPR and NRC.

“Besides violating principles of equality, non-discrimination, secularism, this concerted attempt will also endanger the lives of vulnerable groups who do not possess adequate documentary proof of citizenship. Moreover, there are serious questions as to the legality and constitutionality of CAA, NPR and NRC.”

“The parliamentary enactment of CAA has created grave apprehensions among various sections of society that it is a prelude to the NPR which will lead to a nationwide NRC,” it said.

It pointed out that for the first time in India, the CAA introduced religious test to acquire Indian citizenship while also providing for an accelerated path to citizenship for non-Muslim citizens of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Referring to NPR, the process of which is set to be rolled out from April 1, the resolution noted that there are apprehensions among all sections of citizenry, especially the economically weaker sections and illiterate persons that they will be required to show documentary proof of citizenship as well as of their parents.

“It is also feared that the disproportionate impact will be felt most by Dalits, Adivasis, backward classes and linguistic as well as religious minorities.”

“Citizenship on the basis of religion violates not only the principle of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution but also the principle of secularism, which constitutes the basic structure of the Constitution of India. By discarding secularism and quality before law in our citizenship laws, a theocratic state may be institutionalized.”

“Hence the enactment of CAA calls for a combined effort from all Indian, regardless of religious beliefs, to protect our founding values and preserve secularism in the Republic of India.”

Besides violating principles of equality, non-discrimination and secularism, the concerted attempt would also endanger the lives of vulnerable groups who did not possess documentary proof of citizenship.

“Thus there are valid concerns as to the legality and constitutionality of NPR and NRC. There is confusion even as to the mandatory nature of the NPR,” it said.

In addition, the conflation of NPR and Census exercise resulted in endangering the integrity and safety of the Census exercise.

The Act would make people belonging to certain religions eligible for Indian citizenship, while excluding other solely on the basis of religion. Citizenship on the basis of religion violates not only the principle of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, but also the principle of secularism which constituted its basic structure.

KCR pointed out the contradictions: “The NPR was the first step to NRC, said the Union Home Ministry report for 2018-19, but Home Minister Amit Shah claimed they were not linked. Who is speaking the truth? No one trusts the Centre, ” said KCR.

The CAA should be understood in combination of the NPR which was being purportedly conducted under the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Card) Rules, 2003. “The Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report (2018-19) stated that the NPR was the first step towards creation of the NRC,” it said.

According to statements made by the Union Ministers as well as the government of Assam, the CAA was to be used in order to protect non-Muslims who might have been excluded from the NRC in Assam and in future, and the rest of the country.

“Therefore, this is nothing less than an attempt to fundamentally alter and undermine the non-religious nature of Indian citizenship,” the resolution asserted.

The rules were purportedly made under Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which however did not permit or require the creation of NPR. Moreover, the rules were notified on December 10, 2003 while Section 14A came into effect only on December 3 the next year.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who introduced the resolution in the Assembly expressed concern that the CAA introduced a “religious test” to acquire Indian citizenship for the first time in the country.

“Sedition case should be booked against KCR for moving the resolution”: BJP Chief

The CM voiced concern over the “growing trend of dubbing anyone a Pakistani agent and a traitor for raising voice against CAA NRC and NPR.”

“This is not to be taken lightly, and there is need to oppose such narrow-minded politics. Dissent can’t be seen as anti-national, which is what is happening now.”

Member of Lok Sabha Bandi Sanjay, newly appointed, rather rabid-tongued, Chief of BJP state unit, said a sedition case should be booked against KCR for moving the resolution.

If they oppose NRC NPR for political reasons, Sanjay said, they should seek refuge in Pakistan.

KCR made it clear that the government had a policy on the issue and it would stick to it without any dilution. The fight against NPR would be a long drawn battle and he would mobilise the like-minded voices in the country against the discriminatory law.

Kerala and West Bengal might have given a stay on the implementation of NPR, he said, but Telangana government would do more to prevent suffering of its people from such a law.

Replying to queries raised by Congress in the debate, KCR said: Our Government Advisor Rajiv Sharma is in talks with Bengal and Kerala, who adopted two different methods to stall NPR work, and we will study them.

The chief minister said the Centre’s move triggered nation-wide protests and created doubts about its real intention to conduct NPR. “Intolerant thinking is not good for the country and this country can’t accept this,” he said.

Pointing out that Ministry of Home Affairs in its report for 2018-19 stated that NPR is the first step for preparation of NRC, Rao said nobody was ready to believe the Centre that there will be no NRC. “Who is speaking truth? Union Home Minister or this report,” he asked.

Stating that it is not an issue of Hindus and Muslims but an issue of the very future of the country and its prestige in the international community, KCR voiced concern over the growing trend of dubbing anybody as Pakistani agent and traitor.

“Can you call Telangana Assembly a traitor for passing this resolution,” he asked.

He said MPs and ministers went to the extent of raising slogans like ‘goli maro’. “What kind of language is this. A civilized society like India’s can’t tolerate this nuisance,” KCR said.

The parliamentary enactment of CAA has created grave apprehensions among various sections of society that it is a prelude to NPR, which will lead to a nationwide NRC, it said.

The resolution noted that there have been protests across India against CAA and proposed implementation of NPR and NRC. On NPR, set to be rolled out from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020, it said there are apprehensions among people that they will be required to show documentary proof of citizenship as well as of their parents.

Citizenship on the basis of religion violates not only the principle of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, but also the principle of secularism, which constitutes the basic structure of the Constitution, it said.

Enactment of CAA calls for a combined effort from all Indians, regardless of religious beliefs, to protect the nation’s founding values and preserve secularism, it said.

Speaking on the occasion, Rao said the state government was not blindly opposing the CAA, NPR and NRC. “We are not opposing this bluntly and blindly without any understanding. We are opposing either this CAA or NPR or NRC with a clear understanding, he said.He recalled TRS supported the Centre on Article 370. it would support any such other measures.

He expressed concern over the recent communal violence in Delhi in which many people were killed, at a time when US President Donald Trump was on a visit to the country, and also over comments and language of some MPs and Union Ministers.

KCR had earlier said his family had 580 acres of land and a big building when he was born. If he does not have a birth certificate though he was born in such a family, what about Dalits, STs and poor people, he asked and wondered how such details can be obtained if asked to do so, he said. He reiterated the point in the Assembly.

“If mine (birth certificate) is not there, how do I get my fathers (birth certificate),” he said, in an apparent reference to the new format of the National Population Register (NPR).

In the old days, village residents used to get a ‘janma namam‘ (particulars concerning birth) written by a local pundit which would not have an official seal, he said. His ‘janma namam’ is still there, the chief minister said.

“If documents like voter identity card, driving licence, Aadhar card, ration card and even passport are not enough to prove citizenship, what else would do?” he asked. Modi was elected on the basis of voter cards whose validity is now being questioned for citizenship. Is his election valid, he asked sarcastically. 

“For the first time in India, the CAA introduced a religious test to acquire Indian citizenship while also providing for an accelerated path for non-Muslims of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. There have been protests across India against enactment of CAA and the proposed implementation of NPR and NRC,” stated Rao.

Addressing the assembly, KCR stated that implementation of all three things will violate principles of equality, non-discrimination and secularism, and added that a “concerted attempt would also endanger the lives of vulnerable groups who did not possess documentary proof of citizenship.”

AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi urges KCR to issue GO to stop NPR exercise

While extending support to the resolution against CAA, AIMIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, in his long and effective speech, said that the CAA is a law that “not only divides the country, but also weakens it” and added : “We should be making laws that unite people but CAA is creating fissures in society.”

“I am proud to be a Hindustani Muslim. Identify me as an Indian Muslim and not just as a Muslim. I love this country and will give my life for it,” he said.

Owaisi said that the CAA, NPR and NRC were not against Muslims alone but was against all poor of the country irrespective of their religions and castes.

“With this law (CAA) non-citizens are being made citizens and citizens are going to be made non-citizens,” he said. He said that the National Population Register (NPR) did not have any legal status.

He urged chief minister to get a GO issued to stop the house-listing and data collection exercise as part of National Population Register, scheduled to begin on April , and to notify separate dates for Census.

“There are also requests to delink Census and NPR to ensure that the Census process is not harmed,” Akbaruddin said.There are widespread apprehensions, protests and call for boycotts against NPR. “We express our concerns that fears against NPR will derail the Census exercise,” he said.

The Constitution treats a man with a tilak, a turbaned Sikh and a bearded Muslim as equals. “The CM has honoured this constitutional principle by introducing a resolution against CAA, NPR and NRC. This country belongs to people of all religions and even those who do not belong to any religion but CAA, NPR and NRC has divided the nation into pro- and anti-groups,” he said.

Modi and Amit Shah are disrespecting women

Akbaruddin said the PM Modi and Amit Shah are disrespecting women by using the word ‘consummation’..

While quoting the rules, he cited the clause ‘if a women is not able to tell her age at the time when her first child was born, try to ascertain her age at the time of marriage or her age at the time of consummation of marriage.’

He said that the NRC would create new problems to the citizens of the country. :”While the NRC gives citizenship to foreigners, it takes away the citizenship of the people of the country. The Act is aimed at weakening our country,” he said .

He also alleged that the Center was planning to bring into force NPR from April 1, 2020. He said that authorities concerned would keep the people who did not provide their complete details under doubtful citizens category and added that the doubtful citizens would have to go to international court of justice for getting justice.

He said that the Center had included a provision in the Act allowing anybody to raise objections against the citizenship of any citizen of the country while noting that such a provision would only lead to blackmailing cases in the country.

Referring to some surveys, Owaisi told the House that 50 percent of the people of the country didn’t have own houses and added that two to three families were living on the same house number and address. He claimed that 70 percent people of the country didn’t have birth certificates to prove their birth place.

He cited huge expenditure of more than Rs. 1000 crore incurred for the exercise in Assam alone, which finally created more confusion, made tens of thousands of people doubtful citizens, including dignitaries, like those who fought in Kargil war, those who won Sahitya Akademy Awards etc.


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