It’s unconstitutional for States not to implement CAA, says Sitharaman

“If the State governments say they won’t implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, it is unconstitutional,” Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.

Addressing an event organised by the Chennai Citizens’ Forum and the New India Forum on Sunday, she said, “They (political parties) can make a political statement; if they are going to pass a resolution [against the CAA] in the Assembly, they can do it. But when it is passed in Parliament, they need to implement it. If they say they won’t, it is against the Constitution.”

According to her, in the last six years, 2,838 people from Pakistan, 914 from Afghanistan and 172 from Bangladesh had been given Indian citizenship, and they included Muslims. Citing the Home Ministry’s data, she said 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh had been granted citizenship since 2014.

“For those who allege that one section or one community won’t get citizenship may please see this data (sic). From 2016 to 2018, under [Narendra] Modi’s government, 1,595 Pakistani migrants and 391 from Afghanistan have been given citizenship. There is no truth to the allegation that one section will be denied citizenship. We should understand that CAA is [meant] to grant people citizenship and not take it away from them,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

As for Sri Lankan Tamils living in camps, she said, “Nearly four lakh Sri Lankan Tamils were given citizenship from 1964 till 2008. There are many who want to politicise this issue. But instead of doing that, they can ask us questions, and we will certainly answer them.”

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