After Union Minister Shantanu Thakur announced on January 29 that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was set to be enforced nationwide within a week, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said CAA and related policies like the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Uniform Civil Code were merely political tricks before the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.
“They (BJP) are speaking about NRC, CAA and Uniform Civil Code ahead of the elections. This is nothing but politics. We have given citizenship to everyone (and) they (people in border areas) are getting everything. They are citizens, which is why they are allowed to vote,” she said.
“Let me make it very clear that, as long as I am alive, I will not allow NRC implementation in West Bengal. I will not allow them to take away the citizenship of anyone. Everyone here is a citizen,” Banerjee added.
Meanwhile, her Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin said the DMK government would block the CAA in the state. He criticised the act for discriminating against Muslims and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees.
Stalin has also condemned the AIADMK, Tamil Nadu’s main Opposition, for supporting the CAA in Parliament. He emphasised the DMK’s history of opposing the CAA, including protests and a signature campaign. Under his leadership, the state government urged the Central government to retract the CAA.
The people, according to him, are witnessing the Centre’s actions that “go against communal harmony” and the AIADMK’s “drama”. Stalin said that the DMK government would never implement the controversial law.
The CAA is a law that aims to provide a faster pathway for Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from three neighbouring countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The law focuses on helping those who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, and who have faced religious persecution in their home countries. Essentially, it’s designed to help individuals from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have fled to India because of persecution based on their religion.