March 14, 2020 4:45:18 am
Observing that NPR will be followed by NRC which has “agitated” the country like no other issue “since Independence”, the AAP-dominated Delhi Assembly passed a resolution Friday, appealing to the Centre to scrap the scheduled updation of the national population register from April 1, or to restrict it to the 2010 format.
The discussions that preceded the passage of the resolution saw Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal delivering a sharp takedown of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s attempt to delink NPR and NRC, saying such statements hardly matter as none other than President Ram Nath Kovind has declared in Parliament that NRC will be implemented.
Kejriwal and AAP leaders, who have so far stayed away from the largely Muslim-led anti-CAA/NRC protests in the city, repeatedly emphasised that NPR and NRC will negatively impact not just Muslims, but Hindus as well. In fact, state Environment Minister Gopal Rai said Hindus will be bigger sufferers going by the “example of Assam”.
The resolution appealed to the “Government of India that in the interest of the Nation, particularly when the economy is witnessing worst ever down slide and unemployment is witnessing terrifying growth and with the threat of Corona pandemic looming large, it invests all its energies and resources on real needs of the people of India rather than unnecessary issues like NPR/NRC”.
The resolution, which brought Delhi into the league of 10 states and Union Territories to have passed resolutions against NPR, “urges upon Government of India to withdraw and not carry out the whole exercise of NPR and NRC, (should the Government of India insist on going ahead, to restrict the exercise to NPR only with 2010 format with no new fields added to it)”.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and several AAP MLAs, including Atishi, Raghav Chadha, Dilip Pandey, voiced their opposition to NPR and NRC during the day-long special session, which also saw a discussion on the coronavirus threat.
Atishi said: “The Union government claims that NPR is being carried out under the Census framework. The BJP leaders and the ministers are lying. Census is carried out under the law enacted in 1948. Census data is not to be revealed in the public domain. Census law does not have any reference to NPR at all. The sole objective of NPR is NRC, nothing else. Attempts are being made to bring NRC through the backdoor. We want NPR to be stalled not just in Delhi, but across the country. “
In his speech, Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri of the BJP said the discussions hold no significance in light of Shah’s “clear articulation” in Parliament.
However, AAP leaders, including Kejriwal, pointed out that Shah himself has more than once explained the “chronology of how NPR, NRC and CAA” are interlinked. “Amit Shah said that documents will not be sought under NPR. But he didn’t say documents will not be sought under NRC. Information collected under NPR will be used to implement NRC. Agar NPR ho gaya, toh phir NRC hoga hi hoga. Even the President has said as much,” Kejriwal said.
Touching on CAA, against which the AAP had voted in both Houses of Parliament, the CM said, “If you are Muslim, you will be sent straight to detention camps. And if you are Hindu, you will be asked if you are from Pakistan. If you are, your papers will be made and if not, you will be sent to detention centres. The more I read, I understand that the law favours Pakistani Hindus and is against Indian Hindus. The Hindus of this country will be forced to declare themselves as Pakistanis. We cannot and will never do that as we are deshbhakts.”
Referring to the detention centres for undocumented migrants that are functional in Assam, he spoke about the plight of Dulal Chandra Paul, Chabindra Sarma, Sanaullah Khan, Naresh Koch and Ratan Biswas among others in those facilities.
“Even I don’t have proof of birth, the CM of Delhi does not have. My wife doesn’t haven’t, my parents don’t. In fact, 61 out of 70 members of this House don’t have birth proof. Will my family will also be sent to detention centre? Will the entire Cabinet also go to detention centres? How many of you are ready to declare yourselves as Pakistanis? We will spend the rest of our lives in detention centres, but will not declare ourselves as Pakistanis to obtain citizenship. Ask the Union Cabinet, the MPs, CMs across the country. Even they won’t have any proof. The other day (Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao) KCR asked if he should commit suicide for not having proof,” Kejriwal said.
The resolution also took note “of the fact that there is widespread belief among public that the Government of India (GoI) will seek documents from the public to prove their citizenship and prepare a National Register of Citizens (NRC) thereafter based on the documents obtained and the new NPR and there is fear and panic writ large in the society about NRC which will determine who is not a citizen and all such people will be sent to detention centres”.
“That more than 90 per cent of the people of India won’t have expected documents and the whole exercise of seeking documents to prove their citizenship will put the citizens of India to untold miseries, cause widespread panic and create a peculiar situation when such large number of people will be unable to prove their citizenship,” it stated.
“With the considered view that since Independence no other issue has agitated the minds of the people of India as much as the issue of NRC and the fear of being thrown into detention centres arbitrarily,” it asked whether NPR data will be fed into NRC and what documents will be accepted as conclusive proof of citizenship.
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