CAA brought to divert attention of the general people : Anand
Guwahati, Jan 21 (PTI) Congress leader Anand Sharma on
Tuesday said the Citizenship Amendment Act has been brought to
divert the attention of the general people from "real" issues
like economic slowdown, growing unemployment, agrarian
distress and rising inflation.
    Sharma, who is the chairman of department-related
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, said the CAA
violates the Assam Accord which had put the cut off date for
detecting and deporting illegal immigrants at March 25, 1971.
    The cut-off date in CAA is December 31, 2014, he said
and alleged that the BJP government at the Centre did not take
into account the sentiments of the Assamese people when
setting it.
    "Read the (Assam) Accord. I challenge those who are
saying different things, including the chief minister
(Sarbananda Sonowal) and his senior ministers. They (BJP
government) did not take into account the sentiments of the
people of Assam. The Assam Accord clearly mentions March 25,
1971 as the cut-off," Sharma told a press conference here.
    Stressing that the Assam Accord has to be honoured in
letter and spirit, the former union minister hoped that the
Supreme Court will "uphold the Constitution, protect its basic
structure and declare the CAA as unconstitutional" in its
hearing on Wednesday.
    On January 13, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa
Sarma had said at the one-day special session of the state
Assembly that the CAA does not violate the Assam Accord, but
is aimed to address its "unresolved" issues.
    Sharma said that the contentious law is aginst the
basic structure of the Constitution. "The CAA is in direct
conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of India. It
fails the constitutionality test and the morality test.
It has created a feeling of insecurity and fear throughout the
country. It has plunged Assam and north east India in
turmoil, he added.
    Sharma termed the CAA as a "totally unnecessary" law
as there are already enough provisions in the Constitution and
enough power with the Government of India under the
Citizenship Act to grant citizenship to people from other
     Citing examples, he said that lakhs of Tamil people
of Indian origin who were expelled from Sri Lanka and others
by the Idi Amin government in Uganda in the past decades had
been granted citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
     "Today there is no situation requiring amendment to
the Citizenship Act and that also with a cut-off date of 2014.
So what was the need for the CAA? They (The BJP-led government
at the Centre) have no answer to that," Sharma said.
    Asked if the state governments have the right to go
against a central law, as has been done by passing Assembly
resolutions by Punjab and Kerala, he said that the states can
oppose and challenge an Act under Article 131 of the
Constitution which they consider as unconstitutional.
    "It is their constitutional right. If something
unconstitutional is imposed the states can challenge it in the
Supreme Court and that is what they have done. They are very
much within their constitutional powers," Sharma added.
    The Rajya Sabha MP claimed that the Narendra Modi
government at the Centre has failed on all fronts and alleged
that BJP is now seeking to divert attention of the masses from
the "issues of bread and butter" by resorting to divisive
politics by using CAA and other controversial steps.
    "The Modi government has pushed India back by 20 years
through its various wrong policies and decisions ... The BJP
government's tenure will be remembered as a dark chapter in
independent India's history.
    "Narendra Modi will go down in history as a prime
minister who ruined India's strong economy and dented India's
credibility as a constitutional democracy and who is
responsible for creating unprecedented fear and insecurity in
the minds of the people," he said.
    Continuing his attack, Sharma said Modi and Union
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are "clueless about
handling" the Indian economy which was the fastest growing
    The country's nominal GDP growth has collapsed and
fallen to a 45-year low and the unemployment rate is at a
45-year high, he added. PTI TR

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)