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5 states refuse to implement CAB; Centre says 'they have no power to reject'

Guwahati/New Delhi/Kolkata: Chief Ministers of five states — West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh — refused to implement the law while terming it as "unconstitutional" on Friday. Amid protests over the Citizenship Act in the northeast, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she would not allow its implementation in the state "under any circumstances".

Lashing out at the BJP-led central government over the amended Citizenship Act, Banerjee, who is also TMC chief, said the saffron party can't bulldoze the states to implement the law.

Meanwhile, a top government official said that state governments have no powers to reject the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 as the legislation was enacted under the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. "The states have no powers to deny implementation of a central law which is in the Union List," the top official from the Home Ministry said.

President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Bill on Friday which made it an Act.

Meanwhile, protests against the new Citizenship law showed signs of ebbing away in Assam and elsewhere in the northeast on Friday with the relaxation of curfew but parts of neighbouring West Bengal were in throes of violence as agitators vandalised public property and clashed with police.

Curfew was relaxed in Assam's Dibrugarh and Meghalaya capital Shillong, but the ripple effect of anger over the hugely divisive law was felt in West Bengal where Beldanga railway station complex was set ablaze in Murshidabad district and RPF personnel were assaulted. No violent incidents were reported from Guwahati, the hotbed of violent protests on Thursday, however, peaceful protests were held by All Assam Students Union (AASU) and some other outfits. Nevertheless, there were reports of police firing in the air to disperse protesters in some places in Assam.

26 Army columns have been deployed in Assam to support the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to handle the situation there, Indian Army sources said on Friday.

Fresh petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, including those by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh and Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mahua Moitra, challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019.

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