FPJ EDIT: Of CAA and States

On Monday, West Bengal became the fourth State to pass a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. Kerala, Punjab and Rajasthan had already done it. The West Bengal Assembly approved the resolution moved by the Trinamool Government seeking the repeal of the controversial law. It also wanted it to abandon the proposed National Population Register and the National Citizenship Register. Besides the ruling Trinamool Congress, the Congress Party and the CPI(M) supported the resolution. The Opposition BJP stoutly defended CAA, hailing the Prime Minister and the Home Minister for incorporating the long-overdue amendment in the citizenship law. Knowing full well that the resolution passed by the State Assemblies is not worth the paper it is written on, given that all States are bound by the Constitution to implement CAA, why are ruling politicians in these States going through the charade? The answer is simple: to hoodwink people. Since the critics have (mis)read into the law such dire implications which remotely do not follow from it, everyone has used his or her wild imagination to make CAA into an epitome of evil meant to devour Muslims. Such monumental falsehood and lie has powered the protest of the ignoramuses in the Muslim ghettos to which members of the elite media and visceral anti-Modi secularists-liberals lent support for their own vested interests. Anyone familiar with the contents of CAA is bound to wonder as to what all the fuss was about. An amendment which is being pilloried not for what it contains but for what it leaves out, namely relief to the persecuted Muslims in Muslim-majority neighbouring countries, has now been used to condemn the NPR and NRC as well. No developed or developing country keeps open borders; majority of them periodically do the population headcount, issue their citizens photo-ID card/ social security number/ citizenship card, etc. If you follow the logic of protesters and the politicians instigating them, not only would you abandon the decennial census but also the NPR and the NRC. It is forgotten that in 2010, then Home Minister P Chidambaram publicly stated that `NPR would issue to each citizen the resident identity card which will be the Aadhaar number and some more information while 15 other inputs will be on the master database on a chip.’ Further, ‘there will be NPR camps, everyone must attend those camps, those who fail to will be given another chance after which they will be served notice and will have to come to the taluk office for enrolling in NPR.’ How, then, are the Congress leaders now fuelling anti-CAA protests? The answer is not hard to find. It is to win back the Muslim vote-bank through sheer fakery and charade. The resolution passed by the four State Assemblies too falls in the same category.

For, as the Congress leader and senior Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal felt constrained to admit at a public event in Kerala the other day, ‘the States do not have the option to say they would not implement CAA.’ The Constitution binds them to do so since citizenship is a central subject. Period. Of course, the Centre does not have its own nation-wide lower bureaucracy to implement CAA and would have to necessarily rely on school teachers, clerks, patwaris, tehsildars, et al to carry out the humongous exercise. The Constitution empowers the Centre to issue directions to the States to follow the prescribed process for implementing the central law. An errant State will invite a constitutionally-mandated punishment should it fail to perform its lawful duty. Which should amply make it clear to the organizers of the Shaheen Bagh in Delhi and its copycat versions in Muslim-majority areas elsewhere that the leftists and the Congress netas are out to fool them into pushing their own partisan agenda of destabilizing the duly-elected NDA government. Protesters make a huge mistake believing that CAA will be repealed. Home Minster Amit Shah has categorically stated that regardless of the protests the law was here to stay. Clearly, CAA is merely an excuse to oppose Modi, even though there is nothing objectionable in the law itself.

Also Read: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee leads anti-CAA march in Darjeeling