Vijayan Questions Cong’s ‘Silence’ On CAA, Says Kerala Govt ‘Won’t Bend’

New Delhi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday denounced the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as “unconstitutional” and a “direct challenge” to the fundamental principles of human rights and the essence of India, news agency PTI reported. Addressing the media in Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayan also criticised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his party for their silence on the issue, accusing them of retreating from a unified opposition against the controversial legislation.

According to Vijayan, the CAA institutionalises religious discrimination, yet the Congress appears to be disengaging from concerted efforts against it. Furthermore, he highlighted the absence of any response from Congress’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge regarding the recent notification of CAA rules, PTI reported.

Vijayan also pointed out that the “only reaction” from the Congress came from Jairam Ramesh, the party’s general secretary and communications chief, who questioned the timing of the notification, more than four years after the legislation’s passage in Parliament.

Undeterred by the Congress’s apparent lack of support, Vijayan reiterated that the Kerala government would not “bend or remain silent” on the matter.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed in December 2019 and subsequently approved by the President, triggered widespread protests across the country, with many Opposition parties condemning it as “discriminatory”. The law offers citizenship to undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan of all religions except Muslims, provided they entered India before December 31, 2014.

Meanwhile, in response to Vijayan’s assertions, the Congress-led UDF accused him of misleading the public by suggesting that the CAA would not be enforced in the southern state.

VD Satheesan, the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala assembly, emphasised that the CAA is a central law passed by Parliament, with its rules duly notified.

“It is applicable everywhere in India. To say that it would not be implemented here is a falsehood. Such a statement has no relevance,” PTI quoted Satheesan as saying.