LDF and UDF intensify protests against CAA; BJP defends, Kerala govt mulls legal fight

LDF and UDF intensify protests against CAA; BJP defends, Kerala govt mulls legal fight

Thiruvananthapuram | The notification of CAA rules by the Central government has triggered separate protests by the CPI(M)-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF in Kerala, even as the BJP vehemently defended the contentious law, asserting that it does not target Muslims.

Determined to fight the issue politically and legally, the Kerala government said it was mulling over moving to the Supreme Court to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) notification.

Talking to PTI, Kerala Law Minister P Rajeev said: "The state government has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court opposing the CAA. We are currently evaluating whether to amend the existing lawsuit to challenge the notification issued by the Central government or to file a separate lawsuit altogether."

"A decision on this matter will be reached within a few days," he said.

The move came a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan denounced the CAA as divisive and assured that it would not be implemented in the state.

As the implementation of the CAA rules has snowballed into a political issue ahead of polls in the southern state, which has a significant Muslim population, with both the LDF and the UDF vehemently opposing it, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar criticised Vijayan, accusing him of misleading the public.

"Shri Pinarayi, don't make the people fools. The CAA is not designed to revoke anyone's citizenship but to grant it to refugees persecuted on religious grounds who came to India. This is not discriminatory against Muslims," Javadekar said in a post on 'X' in Malayalam.

Javadekar, who is also the BJP in-charge of Kerala, said Muslims are not persecuted for their religion in Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Afghanistan.

Countering the BJP's claim, CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan alleged that the CAA is a communal agenda.

"Muslims are also persecuted in our neighbouring country. The Rohingya Muslims case in Burma has not been considered by the Centre.

The Left has taken a very strong stand against the CAA, and we have stated that it won't be implemented in Kerala," Govindan told reporters here.

Hitting out at the BJP on the issue, the CPI(M)-led LDF alleged that "the RSS agenda to build a Hindu Rashtra is behind the CAA."

"The notification was issued ahead of the elections with the aim of religious polarisation," LDF convenor E P Jayarajan alleged.

Jayarajan claimed that the Congress did not oppose the Citizenship Act in Parliament.

"Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha didn't do anything. It was like tacitly supporting communalism," the senior CPI(M) leader told reporters.

He alleged that the intention of the Centre is to break the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the country and seize power.

Hitting back at the LDF, the UDF alleged that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government, which says that the CAA will not be implemented in the state, has no sincerity on the issue.

"In 2019, police in the state registered 835 cases related to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Despite the Chief Minister's announcement to withdraw non-aggressive cases, this action has not been carried out. It raises questions about the government's stance.

"The Chief Minister should clarify why these cases have not been withdrawn," the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan, said.

Criticising the Centre on the issue, the Congress leader said the same government that filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court that it did not intend to implement the CAA amendment brought the rules into effect just before the elections.

"Determining citizenship on the basis of religion is unacceptable. This action is against Article 5 of the Constitution on how to grant citizenship. The Congress and the UDF will fight as hard as they can to preserve the Constitution," he said.

BJP state president K Surendran alleged that the LDF and UDF are dividing the people under the cover of the CAA.

Speaking to mediapersons in Kochi, he said that both fronts are trying to deceive the Muslim community in Kerala.

"CAA has become law in our country. No one can do anything. I do not know if you are aware or not, but Pinarayi Vijayan, after CAA came up for discussion in Parliament, has set up a concentration camp in Kollam to detain illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and other infiltrators," he alleged.

"If there is any lie in what I said, you should go and investigate. Vijayan has established a jail in Kollam. The first concentration camp on Centre's instructions to implement the CAA has been set up in Kerala's Kollam district. The first state to implement the CAA would be Kerala," Surendran further alleged.

He, however, did not provide any evidence to substantiate his claim.

CPI(M) leader Govindan rubbished the allegations, alleging that Surendran will blabber something, and no one will take him seriously.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPI(M), on Tuesday announced its intention to challenge the Union government's decision to implement the CAA, by filing a petition in the Supreme Court.

Protests have erupted in various parts of Kerala against the Centre's notification regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as both the LDF and the UDF organised marches towards Central government institutions to condemn the decision.

The Youth Congress organised a march towards the Raj Bhavan here in protest against implementation of the law.

The CAA was passed in December 2019 and subsequently got the President's assent, but there were protests in several parts of the country against it, with many opposition parties speaking out against the law, calling it "discriminatory."

The law could not come into effect as rules had not been notified till now.

This act grants citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

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