The Union Cabinet, earlier today, had approved the updating of the National Population Register. Following the announcement, usual suspects had started indulging in fearmongering and claimed that it was the first step towards the NRC. Now, in an interview with ANI, Home Minister Amit Shah has completely denied any links between the NPR and NRC.
Home Minister Amit Shah to ANI: There is no link between National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), I am clearly stating this today pic.twitter.com/zK32RIFyLh
— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2019
The Home Minister again reiterated that there was no need for a debate around the NRC as there is no discussion on it in the Cabinet or the Parliament. Amit Shah also requested the Chief Minister of Kerala and West Bengal to not stop the initiative. He said, “It will include the poor people who would then get benefits from the Central Govt. They should not take away the benefits extended to the poor.”
— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2019
Amit Shah clarified that no one’s citizenship will be revoked if their name is not included in the NPR. He said it is completely different from the NRC. He also iterated that NPR and NRC derive themselves from completely different laws. Shah said that there’s no proof needed for NPR, no documentation is needed from people and it is only for making a register of information.
There’s no proof needed for NPR. No documentation is needed from the people. The Govt is only making a register of information.
There’s a provision of providing Aadhar in the process, like it was in 2010: Shri @AmitShah
— BJP (@BJP4India) December 24, 2019
Issuing further clarification on the NPR, the Home Minister said, “NPR takes away no one’s citizenship. It is a decadal exercise. It maps people who have shifted to new states. It registers new children and removes people who’re dead. Nothing new is being done. Everything has been done in the past.”
Assuaging the concerns of the minorities, Amit Shah said, “It is a Constitutional provision to conduct Census every 10 years. No one should think that it will be used for NRC. Minorities, especially, should not fear this. These are two different practices.” The Home Minister also said that the NPR and Census were being done together as the processes involved were similar.
The Home Minister stated further, “The constitutional provision of census of the country is to be done in 10 years. The last census was done in 2011, so the next one is to be in 2021. The census process will begin in April 2020. Then the mapping of the houses will begin. Complete census and NPR will be in 2021.”
Amit Shah also said that the NPR was first devised during the UPA regime and it was in 2010 that the exercise was first conducted. Appearing a bit exasperated, Shah remarked, “Why wasn’t it questioned then? When we do the same thing, we are questioned. What kind of questioning is this?” He also pointed out that now that the protests around the CAA are dying down, attempts are being made to fan a fresh political debate, involving the NPR and the NRC.