Kolkata: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew and West Bengal’s Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Chandra Kumar Bose speaking about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Sunday said that a law should not be thrusted upon the citizens in a democratic country.
“Our job is to explain to people that we are right and they are wrong. You cannot be abusive. Just because we have numbers today we cannot do terror politics. Let us go to people explaining benefits of CAA,” said Bose, according to news agency ANI.
“Once a bill has been passed as an act, it is binding on the state governments, that is the legal position but in a democratic country you cannot thrust any act on the citizens of our country,” he added.
Bose also said that he has suggested some modifications to the bill which will puncture the entire Opposition campaign. “We need to specifically state that it is meant for persecuted minorities, we should not mention any religion. Our approach should be different,” he said.
The CAA led to protests in the entire country where the Congress-led Opposition called for the scrapping of the new act. The protests have been most vehement in West Bengal where the ruling Trinamool Congress and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has vowed that she will not allow the act to be implemented in her state.
A debate has been raging in the country over the law’s implementation with the Congress saying states have the right to challenge the Centre and cannot be “forced” to implement the “unconstitutional law” till the petition over it in the Supreme Court is decided.
The Congress’ assertion comes in the wake of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s statement that there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when it is already passed by Parliament.
Sibal, however, later asserted that every state assembly has the constitutional right to pass a resolution and seek CAA’s withdrawal, but if the law is declared constitutional by the Supreme Court then it will be problematic to oppose it.
The Bill amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to give eligibility for Indian citizenship to illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and who entered India on or before 31 December 2014. The bill, however, does not mention Muslims.