Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 17
The Punjab Assembly on Friday adopted by voice vote a resolution seeking immediate repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, describing the legislation “inherently discriminatory” and a “negation of the secular fabric on which the Constitution of India is based”.
The resolution, which termed the CAA as divisive and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, was introduced in the House by Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra, and witnessed extensive discussion. Pointing to the omission of Muslims and other communities such as Jews from the ambit of citizenship under the CAA, the resolution asked for a repeal of the Act “to avoid any discrimination on the basis of religion in granting citizenship and to ensure equality before law for all religious groups in India.”
Concluding the debate, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh termed the “divisive Act” as a tragedy that he was “unfortunate to witness in his lifetime”. “What happened in Germany under Hitler in 1930 is happening in India now. Germans did not speak then, and they regretted it, but we have to speak now, so that we don’t regret later,” he asserted.
“Where will all those people, who you brand as non-citizens, go? Where will the 18 lakh people declared illegal in Assam go if other countries refuse to take them? Has anyone thought about it? Has the Home Minister even thought about what has to be done with the so-called illegal people? Where will the poor people get their birth certificates from?” asked the Chief Minister, declaring that “we all have to live together as citizens of secular India in our own interest.”
People of all faiths have harmoniously lived together in this country all these years, and Muslims have given their lives for this country, said the Chief Minister, citing the example of Indian Army soldier Abdul Hamid, who received the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his actions during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, just like many others.
Earlier Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, who started the debate, said that before dividing people on communal lines, the country must learn from Punjab’s experience which paid the price with ten lakh lives during the Partition. He said people of Punjab “don’t accept injustice.”
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