Sparks fly over CAA in TN Assembly;
Govt, Oppn trade charges



Chennai, Jan 7 : Sparks flew in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday over the CAA with the opposition demanding a resolution against it and the AIADMK government putting up a strong defence of the law and hitting out at arch-rival DMK  for 'backing' a 2003 amendment that envisaged NRC.

The AIADMK, which supported the controversial citizenship bill in Parliament, asserted it would be the first to raise the voice in case even a single person from the minority community was affected if and when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is implemented.

While Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin (DMK) said the Citizenship Amendment Act has evoked nation wide protests, Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar blamed 'misinformation' campaign for the protests by minorities against CAA-NRC.

"Nothing will happen that may impact the minorities. Amma's (Jayalalithaa) government is the guardian protecting the interests of minorities," he asserted.

Earlier, Stalin raised the issue during zero hour and said the CAA has evoked nation wide opposition since it was not in tune with the "unity and integrity" of the country.

He urged that a resolution he had proposed on the issue be taken up as had been done by the Kerala assembly last week. When the Speaker P Dhanapal said DMK plea was under his scrutiny and an appropriate decision will be taken, Stalin led his party members on a walk out.

DMK's allies including Congress and IUML besides ruling party's ally M Tamimun Ansari followed suit.

Later resuming participation, the DMK continued to raise the matter during the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address to the assembly.

While Stalin and DMK deputy leader Duraimurugan insisted on a resolution, the government said no one's rights were infringed by CAA and pointed to the assurances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that none in the country would be affected by it.

Stalin said even those who had supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament such as  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy later turned against the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Responding, Udhayakumar said DMK had supported an amendment in Parliament in 2003 to the Citizenship Act. This tweaking envisaged the maintenance of a National Register of Indian Citizens by the Centre and setting up of a National Registration Authority.

"You initiated it and now you blame the AIADMK," he said, seeking to turn the tables on the principal opposition party which has organised protests over the CAA-NRC in the state.

Joining issue, Stalin said during those times, there was no issue of Muslims and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees getting excluded.

In 2003, DMK was part of the BJP-led government at the Centre, Udhayakumar said and wondered why it did not oppose the move then.

On the NRC, he said no order had been received mandating its implementation.

"Even if such a directive is to come and when it is implemented, even if a single person from... the minority community is affected, the first voice against it will be raised by the AIADMK. Their rights will be protected. This is the truth," he said.

When Stalin said he was talking about CAA, Udayakumar asked, "can you say that someone's citizenship rights was affected due to the Citizenship Amendment Act."

Only new provisions have been added to the Citizenship Act through that amendment and no one's rights were taken away, he asserted.

Blaming the Opposition, the Minister said they were trying to drive a wedge between people on the CAA and said the accusations against the amendment were "imaginary," sans any proof.

A misinformation campaign was on in the social media vis-a-vis the CAA and the priority it bestows on some categories, the Minister said.

In view of such factors, the minorities were protesting out of apprehension that their future may be affected.

"The minorities will teach you a fitting lesson when they come to know about the true position," he told the DMK.


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