States refusing to implement CAA is unconstitutional: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

States refusing to implement CAA is unconstitutional: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

The leader's comments come in after Punjab and Kerala governments have refused to implement CAA in their states.

States cannot refuse to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as "that is against law and the Constitution", said Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on. She said that as many as 2,838 Pakistanis, 914 Afghans and 172 Bangladeshis had been given citizenship in the past six years.

The Minister added that 391 Afghans and 1,595 Pakistanis had been given citizenship in the past two years. "Obviously, they include Muslims too," Sitharaman said, while adding that 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were given citizenship since 2014.

Speaking about Punjab and Kerala opposing the CAA, the leader said "Political parties can make a political statement by passing resolutions against CAA in the assembly, but states cannot refuse to implement it. The CAA is to offer citizenship and not to deny citizenship to anyone," Sitharaman said.

Adding to her statements, the leader said, "Just by bringing in changes and amendments does not make the existing categories go away," she pointed out. Sitharaman said the people who have been granted citizenship are the ones who had come to India from the then East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh. "People like them had to be given citizenship and hence the amendment to the Citizenship Act. Political parties raising the issue for not granting citizenship (to Sri Lankan Tamils) will not talk about these. No human rights organisation will speak about them. Since 1964, more than four lakh Sri Lankans have been granted citizenship. Sri Lankan Tamils living in camps, around 95,000 of them, too will be given citizenship in the coming years," she said.

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