Lashing out at the top leadership in the BJP government for making conflicting statements on National Population Register (NPR)-National Register of Citizens (NRC) link, former Union Minister P Chidambaram Saturday said if two are not linked, why did the Home Minister not say that his government has junked the idea of NRC and is doing only NPR.
Talking to ANI, the Congress leader said, “NPR is clearly linked to NRC. Why did Home Minister not say we are doing NPR, we will not do NRC? Let them say categorically that NRC is ruled out.”
Pointing out that the NRC exercise in Assam rendered more than 19 lakh people stateless, he said the Congress government only did NPR to aid the Census 2010 and did not have a bitter experience like the NRC, ANI stated.
“The elephant in the room is 19 lakh, six thousand, six hundred and fifty-seven. Why do you ignore that elephant? That elephant is sitting there. In the face of that elephant, you see that elephant and you pretend that there is no problem,” he said.
In an interview to ANI on December 24, Union Home Minister Amit Shah drew a distinction between the NPR and the NRC saying both were governed by different laws. “NPR is the database on which policy is made. NRC is a process in which people are asked to prove their citizenship. There is no connection between the two processes, nor can they be used in each other’s survey. NPR data can never be used for NRC. Even the laws are different…I assure all the people, specially from the minorities, that NPR is not going to be used for NRC. It’s a rumour,” Shah said. However, previous reports showed that NRC shall be carried out on the basis of NPR which is enshrined in the Citizenship Rules of 2003 under the Act of 1955, and the government had linked it 9 times in the Parliament.
Denying allegations against Congress of “provoking” anti-CAA protests across the country, Chidambaram said the party is propagating their views and the people are just supporting it. “We aren’t provoking anti-CAA protests, we’re staging anti-CAA protests, and we’re proud of it. Why are they calling us provocateurs? We’re propagating our point of view. And if students, youth, women are supporting our point of view, and coming out on streets what’s wrong with it?”
Explaining that NPR and NRC will identify and exclude while CAA will include, he said “They are two sides of the same coin. They are siamese twins.”
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