‘No Other Way Than to Implement Citizenship Law’: Kerala Governor

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday, 18 January, said the amended citizenship law was the subject of the central list and not a state subject and therefore it will have to be implemented.

“There is no way other than implementing the act. It will have to be implemented under (Article) 254,” Khan told reporters in response to a question on some states refusing to implement the new law.

He said everyone should understand "one's own jurisdiction".

"You may give your arguments by using your intellect, you have the right to challenge it in the Supreme Court but citizenship act is the subject of Union List and not a state subject," he said after addressing a programme at a private university in Jaipur.

Khan said people can be adamant about their opinion but cannot go beyond the boundary of law.

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The Kerala government earlier this week moved the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act, seeking to declare it violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution.

On Friday, Khan criticised the Left government for approaching the apex court against the CAA without informing him and said he may seek a report from it about the move.

Punjab Assembly Adopted Resolution for Repeal of Law

Also on Friday, the Punjab Assembly adopted a resolution seeking immediate repeal of the law and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government would approach the top court against it.

There have been protests against the amended law, and some of them turned violent last month. Some opposition parties too have opposed it, saying the law is discriminatory.

The central government has said the law grants Indian citizenship to religious minorities escaping persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and does not take away anyone's citizenship.

Weighing on the protests, the Kerala governor said it was not the first time protests were happening in the country. “A bigger protest happened in 1986 when a Supreme Court judgment was reversed,” he said, without elaborating the verdict he was referring to.

In the programme based on Indian chronology – the Ramayana and the Mahabharata eras, he said the Indian tradition has been a tradition of knowledge and wisdom which needs to be revived.

The Indian civilisation is a living and continuing civilisation, Khan said.

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"The Indian tradition is a reflective tradition and not prescriptive. Indian civilisation is living and continuing. The continuity of other civilisations has finished," he said.

He said the word 'religion' has a vast meaning and it is not limited to rituals and customs.

Khan also cited references from the Ramayana and the Rigveda in his speech to describe Indian traditions. Talking about 'Brahmins', he said a Brahmin is one who enlightens himself so that he can see everyone with equality.

“This is highly reflective tradition, which does not bind and rather gives an opportunity to expand,” he said, adding that India has been known for knowledge and wisdom, which was acknowledged by Arab world during the 10th century.

Khan said there cannot be discrimination on the basis of birth. "No one is less than anyone on the basis of birth."

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