Chandigarh, March 19 (IANS) Terming the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as absurd and unconstitutional, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Thursday that half of Punjab, including himself, will not be able to produce birth certificates to prove their ‘Indianness’.
Pointing out that most people in Punjab came from Pakistan, Amarinder Singh asked if the Centre expected them to go to Pakistan to look for proof of birth.
“Even I don’t have a birth certificate. These things did not exist when I was born,” said the Chief Minister, adding that this would make him a ‘doubtful character’ under the government of India’s new census system.
Making it clear that his government was totally opposed to these exercises, Amarinder Singh said that while a routine census would be conducted in Punjab, it would not be based on religion, caste and creed.
Asking what the BJP-led Central government was trying to prove with these laws, he took strong exception to former Army officials being declared non-Indians after fighting for the nation.
For 72 years, India has been a diverse country with different religions, castes and creeds living together in the true spirit of the Constitution and its Preamble, the Chief Minister pointed out.
“Suddenly they want to break and fragment this nation, which is totally unacceptable,” he said at a conclave here.
The reaction of the people, especially the youth, clearly showed that this will not work in this country, Amarinder Singh said, adding that the government of India could not possibly put everyone in a box and take them back more than seven decades.