Kolkata/Mangaluru: West Bengal on Monday passed a resolution against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) to become the fourth non-BJP state to take the legislative route, prompting the Centre to tell the opposition parties it is a "constitutional blunder" and they should not forget their duty to the nation.
As the opposition-ruled states were on a collision course on the CAA with the NDA government, Defence minister Rajnath Singh asserted every state should implement the Act as it was a central law.
The Assembly in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal approved the resolution brought by the state government demanding that the CAA be repealed forthwith, as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it is "against the Constitution and humanity". The resolution was backed by both the opposition parties Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front but opposed by the BJP.
Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab in the recent weeks passed resolutions against the new citizenship law that has triggered nationwide protests and a vicious political slugfest.
Unfazed by more and more states adopting a formal resolution against the CAA and refusing to implement it, Defence minister Rajnath Singh said it is not a law to hurt the sentiments of any religion but to give relief to victims of religious persecution in non-secular countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
"The CAA is a central law and everyone(state) should follow it," he told a rally in Mangaluru in Karnataka which recently witnessed violent anti-CAA protests in which two people lost their lives.
Accusing the Congress of misleading people on the issue, he said the party should not forget its "rashtradharma" (national duty) for the sake of its "vipakshdharma" (duties as opposition party).
"Some opposition parties are passing resolutions in assemblies (where they have a majority) that their states will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act. I want to appeal to them not to do such things. This is a constitutional blunder. Please do not do such blunder," he said.
Mahatma Gandhi had told Jawaharlal Nehru to give citizenship to minorities like Hindus and Sikhs if they come to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled that vision by bringing in the law, Singh added.
Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha termed the passing of anti-CAA resolutions by non-BJP states a constitutional crisis, saying this can't be ignored.
He stressed there was no need to bring the legislation as it was "anti-democratic" and "divided people on the basis of religion".
"There is a constitutional crisis. You cannot ignore state governments. You have to take them into confidence," Sinha told reporters in Lucknow when asked about resolutions passed by states against the CAA.
In a related development, the Congress moved the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) demanding action against alleged police atrocities on anti-CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh, claiming that victims have been made accused in case-related FIRs and no police officer has been named.
The delegation, led by senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, met top NHRC officials in Delhi and made a detailed 31-page representation which included videos and photographs as "evidence" of alleged atrocities and human rights violations in the state.
After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi alleged the UP government has "gone to war against its own people" and urged the NHRC to act decisively to protect the "Constitutional rights of our citizens".
After the meeting, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi told reporters, "In Uttar Pradesh, there has been gross human rights violations. We have submitted videos and photos to the NHRC."
The BSP demanded withdrawal of cases lodged by the UP government against women protesting against the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state.
Women have been staging protests in different parts of the state including at the historic Clock Tower in Lucknow, demanding scrapping of the CAA and NRC.
In a tweet, BSP supremo Mayawati said, "Wrong cases filed against women and others protesting against CAA/NRC by the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government should be immediately withdrawn, and those who lost their lives during this time should also be extended proper help, this is the demand of BSP. Around 100 women protesters have been booked for violating prohibitory orders at the clock tower.
As anti-CAA protests continued in several parts of the country, Yoga guru Ramdev alleged that certain political parties are acting irresponsibly and spreading fear over the the amended law through rumours and lies. He did not name any party.
"I believe that all Muslims are not involved in it. Crores of Muslims are patriots and they too are unhappy and this is defaming them. All responsible people need to rectify this," he said.
Shaheen Bagh, which has emerged as the epicentre of the protests in Delhi, sparked a fresh political slugfest with senior Congress leader P Chidambaram hitting out at Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, saying "mocking" this protest, which "represents the essence of Mahatma Gandhi", amounts to "mocking Ahimsa and Satyagraha".
Prasad had earlier in the day said the ongoing protest at Shaheen Bagh spearheaded by women is offering a platform to the 'tukde tukde gang' under the garb of opposition to the CAA.
The BJP leader also alleged that the protest was emerging as "a textbook case of a few hundred people trying to suppress the silent majority".
"Now, the Law Minister calls the protesters at Shaheen Bagh as part of the tukde tukde gang. The real tukde tukde gang is the ruling party that is determined to divide India on religious lines," Chidambaram said in a tweet.
The term 'tukde tukde gang' was used to brand JNU students after the 2016 stir but BJP leaders have used it to refer to political opponents. They have used it in their speeches during several rallies to attack the opposition, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.