New Delhi: Five states, including West Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, have said that they won’t allow the Citizenship Amendment Act to be implemented in their areas. Sources in the ministry of home affairs said that states don’t have the power to reject the Act as the issue of citizenship comes under the union list by 7th schedule of the Constitution. Such an amendment is applicable to all states.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been a staunch critic of the Act, which grants citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Sikhs fleeing religious persecution in neighbouring states like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. “When the house is on fire, one must not consider religion. CAB is torture upon humanity and also on the poor people. They consider the poor people to be a fool. We stand by the poor, farmers and workers,” the CM said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, too, said he would block the law in his state. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and opposition leaders have joined hands in their protests against the Act. They will sit on a satyagraha on December 16.

Maharashtra Congress leader Nitin Raut said that the Act will not get enacted in the state. Home minister, Eknath Shinde, on the other hand, said that CM Uddhav Thackeray will take a decision on it soon. “People of all caste, religion & language live in this state. All of them should feel that this govt is theirs. Our govt will continue to maintain a free atmosphere &see that law &order is maintained,” he said.

While the states are mulling over whether to implement this Act or not, there is no such provision in the Constitution. The matter of citizenship comes under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. This schedule has three lists: Union list, State list and Concurrent list. The issue of citizenship, naturalisation and aliens is listed under the Union list at number 17.