Kochi: As the protests against the controversial moves of the Union government over citizenship and population documents still rage in different parts of the country, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reiterated that the state would not implement the National Population Register (NPR).
"The state is ready to collect information as part of the census. However, the state would not take part in the data collection in the second phase for NPR," the CM said after inaugurating a session on ‘Challenges faced by Indian democracy’ during the Krithi International Book Festival in Kochi on Saturday.
Pinarayi further said that this stance has been conveyed to the government, officials and the court.
“There is no need for any apprehension about this in Kerala. But this agitation should prevail across the country,” he added.
Lauding the youth for spearheading the protests against the controversial citizenship law, Pinarayi said, "Whenever the democracy was threatened in India, the citizens have come together to uphold democratic values. Our history is witness to several such instances. Thousands of youth had taken part in the Independence struggle without even worrying about their future. While many of them died for the cause, thousand others were imprisoned.
"Today, when they noticed that the democracy has been threatened, youth, especially students, entered the protests on their own."
"Even students of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) took to the streets. That's the power of democracy," he said.
Pinarayi said that it was wrong to say that youth lacked social responsibility and pointed out that the youngsters were ready to make any sacrifice for the land.
He spoke about the contributions made by youths during the massive floods in Kerala without even worrying about their own safety.
Pinarayi said that those who questioned the government actions were being dealt with brute force.
"One instance of this is the attack on students’ union leader Aishe Ghosh at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. She was hit with iron rods on her head and her hand was broken. Cops even kicked the private parts of girl students at Jamia Millia Islamia," he said.
RSS in the crosshairs
Training guns on the RSS, the Kerala CM also said that the right-wing outfit had openly spoken out against the country's secular framework and sought for a religious basis. "The RSS was ready to further the communal divide initiated by the British. RSS leader (VD) Savarkar, whom the today's rulers herald as a great freedom fighter, had escaped from the Andaman jail after giving in a written apology to the British. The RSS is aping what Hitler had handed out to the Jews.
"Which Upanishad or Veda calls for such action on the Muslims, Christians and Communists?" Pinarayi sought to know referring to the discriminatory stand of the outfit.
The CM said that several people considered the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to be an issue affecting only the Muslims.
"But this is an attempt to destroy the secular fabric and Constitution of the country. In Kerala, both the ruling and opposition fronts jointly opposed the CAA. This was well-received by most quarters. This unity needs to be further strengthened," he needed.
At the function Pinarayi also released a book, Shakuntala screenplay, written by late Malayalam author Lalithambika Antharjanam and published by the Sahithya Pravarthaka Co-operative Society.
Books 'Cooperative Guide' and 'Theekkadal Thurumughangal' by photographer B Manoj based on C Radhakrishnan’s ‘Theekkadal Kadanja Thirumadhuram’, and Ezhacherry Ramachandran's 'Then Manakkum Vakkukal’ were also unveiled. The first copies of the books were received by T J Vinod, MLA, Ezhacherry Ramachandran and Co- Operation and Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who presided over the session.
Minister Kadakampally also said that there were plans to start a museum dedicated to literature in Kottayam.
The third edition of the Krithi also saw active involvement by the youth.