NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said that the vexed Citizenship (Amendment) Act could be challenged in court as it was in violation of the Right to Equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution. However, he said that the Centre’s decision to collate demographic data for the National Population Register (NPR) has to be fought politically, for which support of the people protesting the citizenship law on the streets was needed.
'The CAA was brought into force in the wake of the fiasco over the National Register for Citizen (NRC) exercise in Assam. The NRC exercise in Assam threw up 19 lakh ‘illegal’ immigrants, of which 7 lakh were Muslims and 12 Hindus. So what did a Hindutva government do? It rolled out the CAA. Hence, the NRC gave rise to the CAA and the opposition to the CAA gave rise to the NPR,' he said.
Addressing students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Thursday evening, Chidambaram said, “It took leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and BR Ambedkar three months to decide on the wordings of the citizenship article. And this government went ahead and amended the CAA last year. It was passed by the (Union) cabinet and cleared by the Lok Sabha by midnight on December 8. It was tabled in the Rajya Sabha and passed by 11 am on December 11. So, these gentlemen took three days to undo what the great leaders took three months to accomplish,” he said.
To a question why the Congress wasn’t holding protests against the CAA and NRC, he said, “We may not be standing with the Shaheen Bagh protesters, as it would be akin to playing into the BJP’s hands. But we are protesting in our own way.”
‘Cong protesting CAA, NPR in its own way’
Chidambaram said while the party did not want to be seen standing with the Shaheen Bagh protesters, as it would play into BJP’s hands, it was holding protests against the CAA, NRC and NPR.