January 29, 2020
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan read out a paragraph containing criticism of the amended citizenship law during a policy speech he delivered Wednesday in the state assembly.
Governor Khan has previously criticised Kerala’s opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act — it recently passed a near-unanimous assembly resolution and challenged the law in the Supreme Court — but he said he was reading out the paragraph to honour Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s wish.
“I’m going to read this para because the Honourable Chief Minister wants me to read this, although I hold the view that this does not come under the definition of policy or programme,” Governor Arif Mohammad Khan said.
The paragraph in question mentions both the anti-CAA resolution passed by the Kerala assembly and the suit before the Supreme Court.
It says citizenship cannot be based on religion, “as this goes against the grain of secularism, which is part of the basic structure of our Constitution”.
Opponents of the CAA feel it deliberately excludes Muslims while offering fast-track citizenship for Pakistani, Afghan and Bangladeshi illegal immigrants from six minority religious groups, including Hindus — provided they entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Meanwhile, Congress-led Opposition MLAs protested Governor Arif Mohammed Khan visit to the state assembly; they attempted to block his speech, and later boycotted it. Here’s our full report on their demonstration.