New Delhi: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Saturday dared opposition states like Kerala and West Bengal not to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Population Register (NPR), saying that the Centre has the power to bring legislation over citizenship.
The two states have been the most vocal in opposing the Centre’s twin moves of CAA and NPR. Kerala, in fact, has already passed an anti-CAA resolution and, along with Bengal, has ordered stopping of all-NPR related work in the state.
Addressing a press conference in Patna, the Bihar Deputy CM said, “No state including Kerala, West Bengal or Rajasthan can refuse to implement the CAA or the NPR as the Centre has the power to bring legislation over citizenship. Preparing NPR is a statutory provision, which no state can refuse.”
He added that no Chief Minister, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan can refuse to implement CAA and NPR. “They can say anything for public consumption but can’t refuse CAA or NPR. A census director in each state has already been implemented in each state, including West Bengal,” the Bihar Deputy CM further said.
In Bihar, he said, NPR would be carried out from May 15.
NPR, the updation of which was recently sanctioned by the Centre, will be carried out between April and September 2020 in all states and union territories (UTs), except Assam, between April-September 2020. Assam has been excluded as already, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been carried out there.
Critics of NPR argue that it is just the first step in the Centre’s ambition to implement a pan-India NRC. CAA, on the other hand, has triggered protests across the country, many of which have turned violent, as it leaves out Muslims from the list of religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who are proposed to be granted Indian citizenship.
A host of opposition states, including those ruled by the Congress, have refused to implement CAA. Kerala CM Vijayan on Friday wrote to 11 non-BJP Chief Ministers, urging them to pass anti-CAA resolution just like Kerala Assembly has.