PUDUCHERRY: The Congress-ruled Puducherry on Wednesday adopted an Assembly resolution against the controversial amended Citizenship Act, becoming the first union territory in the country to say no to the law.
Earlier, states including Kerala and West Bengal, whose Chief Ministers Pinarayi Vijayan and Mamata Banerjee, respectively, are at the forefront of anti-CAA movements, had adopted Assembly resolutions against the Act.
Amidst an opposition boycott, the one-day special session of the territorial Assembly adopted the resolution tabled by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy. It also registered strong protest against the National Register of Citizens and National Population Register.
Members of the opposition AINRC and AIADMK boycotted the session while the three nominated BJP legislators staged a walk out after registering their objection to the tabling of the resolution. As soon as Narayansamy started reading out the contents of the resolution, BJP members V Saminathan, KG Shankar and S Selvaganapthy were up on their feet and objected to the moving of the resolution.
They were heard saying the resolution was a "murder of democracy" and "violation of constitutional provisions." They later trooped out of the House and did not return for the rest of the session. The resolution urged the Centre to withdraw the CAA as it was "totally opposed to the principles of secularism."
It was passed after the Chief Minister, his cabinet colleagues and legislators belonging to the Congress and its ally the DMK spoke on the resolution. Speaker VP Sivakolundhu said the resolution was "adopted unanimously."
The resolution stated that the CAA had caused "pain and chaos" among the people at large in the country. The enactment of the legislation in the Parliament had created "peaceful agitations across the country," it added.
The CAA was shattering to pieces the principles of secularism which is the basis of the constitution, it said.
Claiming that there was a hidden agenda in the CAA as the Muslims were ignored, it said the law was "totally injurious" to the great sacrifices made by Mahatma Gandhi for protection of secularism. The resolution alleged that certain forces were trying to introduce religious sentiments by forgetting the path shown by the first Indian Prime Minister, the late Jawaharlal Nehru.
"If there was any space available for the divisive forces it would only mean that a historic blunder would be committed, hitting the cardinal principles of secularism (and) the great sacrifices made by martyrs and freedom fighters of the country."
The resolution also expressed disappointment over the CAA not including the Sri Lankan Tamils, staying at various places and in refugee camps in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, for Indian citizenship.
Similarly, the Rohingya Muslims living as refugees in northern states of the country and have also not been included in the Act, it added. The resolution urged the Centre to withdraw the CAA, the NRC and the NPR.