Lawmakers heckle governor in India’s Kerala regional parliament in protest against citizenship law (VIDEO)

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MPs in India’s Kerala State parliament have protested against the governor’s support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). New Delhi has repeatedly insisted that the law is not discriminatory and serves to protect minorities.

White-clad lawmakers from the bloc United Democratic Front (UDF) blocked Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s approach to the podium on Wednesday morning. They held placards with anti-CAA slogans and demands for Khan to be recalled, as the governor waited patiently for his way to be cleared.

Khan managed get to the podium with the help of parliament marshals. The heckling MPs then walked out when the governor began his speech, and staged a sit-in outside the parliament building.

In late December, Kerala, a state on India’s southwestern coast, became the first region to pass a resolution calling on the central government in New Delhi to repeal the CAA, challenging the law in the Supreme Court. Three more states followed suit – Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal.

Governor Khan, whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the main proponent of the law, blasted Kerala’s government for opposing the CAA. He accused his opponents of violating procedural rules and vowed not to “sit as a mute spectator” in the fight.

The CAA makes it easier to get citizenship for religious minorities which have arrived from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but does not do the same for Muslims. Those opposed to the law have called it “discriminatory” and staged protest rallies across India, some of which spiraled into rioting and clashes with police.

The Indian government says the law was adopted as a strictly humanitarian measure, aimed at fast-tracking naturalization for disadvantaged minorities. Authorities said that it is not detrimental to anyone, and that Muslims, as with any other foreigners, can still acquire citizenship through the usual procedures.

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