CHENNAI: State Assemblies may pass resolutions against the CAA but state governments are duty bound to implement the Act, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while refuting the Opposition charge that the law was discriminatory.
Pointing out that the Centre has granted citizenship to about 4.61 lakh Sri Lankan Tamil refugees between 1964 and 2008, she said an amendment to facilitate another batch of Lankan Tamil refugees “may come.”
“It is not democracy if you raise slogans without understanding why the amendment was bro-ught... people may rally behind the opposition initially but once they discern the truth, they would cease to support them,” she said.
SL Tamils too will get citizenship, says FM
Speaking at a programme on CAA, held under the aegis of Chennai Citizens’ Forum and New India Forum here she said in reply to a specific question from the audience that it was against the constitution for States to say they will not implement the Act.
“Since the Act has been passed by Parliament, State governments are duty bound to implement the Act. However, if you (State Legislative Assemblies) want to pass a resolution in the Assembly (against the Act), you can do so. But you can’t say no to the Act,” she said.
On the demand by the DMK and other parties to include Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in the Act, the Finance Minister said already the Centre had granted citizenship to about 4.61 lakh Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and “an amendment for another batch of refugees may come.” “Amendments to the Citizenship Act are made for the benefit of certain sections in the country, there are 95,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in India and the process of granting them citizenship will start,” she said.
The Finance Minister said since the last six years, India has granted citizenship to 2,838 Pakistan nationals, 914 Afghanis, 172 Bangladeshis, and a large number of Muslims were included among them.
“Till 2014, over 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were given Indian citizenship. During 2016-18 under the Modi government, around 1,595 Pakistani migrants besides 391 Afghanistani Muslims were given Indian citizenship,” she said and added that 2016 (during the BJP rule) Adnan Sami Khan, popular singer, was given Indian citizenship. Another example is Taslima Nasreen, Bangladeshi-Swedish writer, who has been given Indian citizenship,” Nirmala emphasised.
“People came from East Pakistan and have been living in various camps in the country. It has been 50-60 years now. If you visit these camps, your heart will cry. The situation is the same with Sri Lankan refugees who continue to live in camps. They are barred from getting basic facilities,” she said....