P Chidambaram
Congress leader P Chidambaram talking to ANI in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo/ANI

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Saturday that a state government can say it was not conducive to hold NPR or NRC if there is mass protest or disobedience.

In an interview with ANI, Chidambaram also defended the Kerala assembly adopting a resolution for the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, saying that the MLAs have the freedom to express their views.

He also said that Rowlatt Act and Salt Act were opposed by the people though they were passed by the then competent parliament and noted that “mass disobedience to an unjust law is what Mahatma Gandhi taught us.”

“A resolution of assembly can give expression to the views of the members. It is as if the members of the Kerala assembly gathered at one place and passed a resolution. It is their freedom to express their views,” he said.

Asked about the need for a state to implement the law of the land, he said that will depend on the circumstances.

“If implementing a law will lead to public disorder or a breakdown of law and order or mass disobedience or mass protest, if there is mass disobedience or mass protest, if there is likely to be breakdown of law and order, the state government can say — not conducive for me to hold NPR, and therefore I can’t hold NPR now,” he said.

The former Finance Minister said that NPR, NRC, and CAA are two sides of the same coin.

“One excludes, one includes. NPR and NRC will identify and exclude. CAA will include. It is two sides of the same coin. They are Siamese twins. If you want to implement CAA, you should first identify who are the illegal immigrants and then you will have to admit Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, etc. That exercise has to be conducted after identifying, who is to be excluded first,” he said.

“Suppose the state government employees say we will not participate in the exercise and suppose people protest when this exercise is carried out in mohallas, towns, wards, people come out in large numbers and say don’t enter our streets, don’t ask people these questions. Why the state government does not say sorry. The situation today is not conducive, not appropriate to conduct either NPR or CAA,” he said.

To a query about the CAB passed by Parliament, he said: “Rowlatt Act was also passed by Parliament. It was a competent parliament at that time. What is the whole idea of mass disobedience? The Salt Act was an Act passed by the then legislature. But mass disobedience to an unjust law is what Mahatma Gandhi taught us.”

Asked what the two Acts were passed by the Britishers, he said if parliament passes unjust law, there is right to protest.

On the move by some state governments to seek money for the loss to property from rioters, Chidambaram said he had been told this is based upon a judgement of the high court.

“But there is a judgement of the Supreme Court, which lays down very different parameters. You can’t be selective about it,” he said. (ANI)


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