In an interview to the ANI news agency last evening, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah reiterated that there is no link between the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). However, usual suspects like AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi have continued to stoke fear among people around the NPR.
‘NPR is first step towards NRC’: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi accuses Amit Shah of misleading people. Watch. pic.twitter.com/JPUGJb2BAQ
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) December 25, 2019
Accusing Amit Shah of misleading the people of India, Owaisi said that the NPR is the first step towards the implementation of contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC). “When the NPR will be carried out in April 2020, the officer-in-charge seeking information from people will have the discretion of updating ‘doubtful’ if he is unsure about the document furnished by citizens. This will be later used against that citizen in the NRC,” Owaisi said.
Congress leader Ajay Maken too stated that the Home Minister is misdirecting the country by claiming that NPR and NRC are decoupled. “The BJP manifesto says that they will carry out the NRC. The NPR activity is first step in that direction. Congress too carried out the NPR but we kept it limited only to seeking information as per norms set by the United Nations. However, the BJP plans to extend it to be used for NRC as well,” he said.
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. 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.”
The Home Minister had yesterday asserted 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 Ministers 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.”
With the unwarranted agitation concerning the Citizenship Amendment Act gradually fizzling out as people are made aware of its provisions which in no way affects the citizens of India, regardless of their creed, the opposition leaders appear reluctant in giving up on the turmoil that has stirred in some parts of the country. Perhaps, to this end, despite repeated dismissal by multiple cabinet ministers, the opposition leaders continue to fan paranoia among people regarding NPR.