Assuring minorities that there is no reason to fear the National Population Register exercise, which his government will conduct from May 15-28, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said that the NPR “should be implemented as per the 2010 format”.
This puts a question mark on three key additional questions in the latest exercise — date of birth and place of parents, and last residential address, of the applicant — that had sparked fears of the NPR leading to a countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
JD(U) chief Kumar also reiterated that the NRC will not be implemented in the state.
Earlier this month, the Bihar government had written to the Registrar General of India, saying that the state has not received the format of questions for the proposed NPR.
On January 4, the NDA state government’s Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had first referred to the “three additional questions in the new NPR” while announcing the implementation of the exercise in Bihar.
But on Sunday evening, speaking at a function organised by the state’s minority welfare department in Darbhanga, Nitish Kumar said: “Samaj ke kisi tabke ke saath koi anyay nahin hone denge. Alpsankyak samuday ke saath koi anyay nahin hone denge jab tak hum hai. Joh NRC ki baat hai, kuchh nahin hona hai. Doosri baat jaan lijiye, NPR ke baare mein joh 2010 mein hua hai usi aadhaar par hona chahiye, idhar udhar nahin hona chahiye. Yeh toh hamara shuru se kehna hai. Sab log prem se rahiye, samaj aage badhega, sab ki tarakki hogi.”
(“I will ensure that there is no injustice done to any community in society. As long as I am there, I will not allow any injustice to be done to the minority community. As for the matter of NRC, nothing is going to happen. Second, NPR should be done in the manner it was done in 2010. There should not be any deviation from it. This has been our stand. Live together with love, society will move forward and everyone will progress”.)
This is the second time since January 13 that the Chief Minister has spoken in favour of the Centre sticking to the 2010 NPR format.
On February 5, in a letter to the Registrar General of India, Bihar’s Land and Revenue Department Additional Chief Secretary Vivek Kumar Singh stated: “Let it be known that the central government has not yet notified details of questions and information for preparation of 2020 NPR.” The state had also requested the Centre to add a column for transgenders in the new format.
In January, the Deputy CM had said that in every Census, new information and new questions were added. “What is the big deal about it? If three questions are added and new queries are asked, what is the problem? Second, it is not mandatory to answer these questions. New information has been sought on parents, but it is not compulsory to answer them.”
The Bihar government had notified the NPR implementation in the official gazette on December 17, 2019.
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