THE CPI(M)-LED government in Kerala has decided to formally inform the Centre that it will not cooperate with the process for updating the National Population Register (NPR). Citing “a sense of fear” among the people, the state government has said it has the “constitutional responsibility” to alleviate these fears and ensure law and order.
The state government, however, has said that it will cooperate with the Census procedure.
A special cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, decided to communicate these decisions to the Registrar General of India (RGI) and Census Commissioner, under the Union Home Ministry.
“As the NPR is a process that leads to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), there is a sense of fear among the people. If the NPR and NRC are implemented in Kerala, it will lead to widespread anarchy. That is the experience of the state where the NRC was implemented,’’ said a statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
“The decision was taken as it is the constitutional responsibility of the government to alleviate the fears of the general public and ensure law and order situation in the state,” it said.
Saying that the state government has already stopped all procedures regarding updation of NPR, the release quoted a state police report as saying that if the government goes ahead with the procedure, it will adversely impact the law and order situation.
The district collectors have also informed the government that the Census procedure would be affected if the NPR updation was done with it, said the CMO statement.
The Indian Express reported last week that the RGI had received communication from the Kerala and West Bengal governments to put on hold the NPR exercise.
Home Ministry sources had said the RGI received the communication through its regional Census offices in these states.
“The states have written to their district magistrates saying that the NPR exercise could be detrimental to public order and so it must be put on hold for the moment. That communication was forwarded to our regional Census offices, and we have received it from them,” an MHA official had said.
The Kerala government has also opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), even challenging it in the Supreme Court last week. Calling CAA “discriminatory” and a “colourable legislation”, it urged the court to declare the law violative of the Constitution, its basic structure rule and secular principles. The petition was filed two weeks after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution demanding that CAA be scrapped.
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