Shortly after home minister Amit Shah said in an interview that there is no link between the National Population Register (NPR) exercise and the National Register of Citizen (NRC), a host of Opposition leaders castigated his statement, and pointed to previous instances where the government had emphasised the link between the two.
The Congress pointed to the Union home ministry's annual report for 2018-19, which states that the National Population Register is the "first step" towards the creation of a National Register of Indian Citizens.
It said in a tweet, "Once again the BJP govt is caught in a trap of their own making. 2018-19 Annual Report of the Union Home Ministry clearly states NPR is first step to NRC. Also in 2014 former MoS Home Ministry Kiren Rijiju replied to a question in RS stating the same. Who's lying now? (sic)"
Radhika Khera, the Congress' national media coordinator, asserted that the two processes are linked in a more dramatic manner:
गंगाधर ही शक्तिमान है
शक्तिमान ही गंगाधर pic.twitter.com/xmUF1shIME
— Radhika Khera (@Radhika_Khera) December 24, 2019
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also attacked the BJP government, saying its "hidden motives" to have a National Register of Citizens have been exposed.
"When the government itself said in Rajya Sabha that NPR will be the basis of NRC, how many lies will these BJP leaders speak and mislead people? Their hidden motives stand exposed," he said.
TMC leader Derek O'Brien also pointed to the government's previous statements in the Lok Sabha and said:
Dear students and all
Mo-Sh 😜 caught again!
In an earlier tweet, we showed you proof from #RajyaSabha
Now, more proof (below) from #LokSabha
— Citizen Derek | নাগরিক ডেরেক (@derekobrienmp) December 24, 2019
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, "The NPR is paving the way for the NRC, which is a betrayal of all communities of India, just like demonetisation. But the people have realised the situation now. The government must announce the cancellation of the NRC process. NPR=NRC."
He further said, "The chief ministers of at least 12 states have announced that they will not allow the implementation of the NRC. We exhort them to announce that like the NRC, they will also not allow the implementation of NPR in their states."
Hemant Soren, who is set to become the chief minister of Jharkhand, said in an interview to PTI that his party will study the NRC and CAA and then decide whether or not to implement them. "I have not gone through the NRC and CAB (now CAA) documents that the government of India wants to implement. Citizens are on the roads against these laws. We will go through it and if it uproots even one Jharkhandi from his or her home, then it won't be implemented."
Earlier, Shah, in an interview to ANI had said, "NPR is the register of population, NRC is the register of citizens. There is no link between the two and the two have different processes."
He also added that information obtained through NPR cannot be used for NRC which was a separate process.
However, the Centre has unequivocally stated in the past that the two processes are linked. For instance, former minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju had stated in a reply to a question in Parliament in May 2015, "It has been decided that National Population Register (NPR) should be completed and taken to its logical conclusion, which is the creation of National Register of Indian Citizen (NRIC) by verification of citizenship status of every usual resident in the NPR and National Identity Cards would be issued to Citizens."
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Dec 24, 2019 22:39:35 IST