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NDA ally AIADMK puts NPR on hold, says Centre hasn’t clarified on queries raised by CM Palaniswami

State revenue minister Udhayakumar said the Centre has not given a clarification on the queries raised by the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on the newly-added questions in the NPR form. 

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
Updated: March 12, 2020 10:08:28 pm
tamil nadu npr, national population register, npr exercise, bjp allies, aiadmk nda ally, latest news, npr protests, tamil nadu govt, latest news, indian express The K Palaniswami government had earlier written to the Centre that certain information and documents like Aadhaar should be avoided in the upcoming Census (Reuters/File photo)

Tamil Nadu Thursday put on hold the updated National Population Register (NPR) exercise in the state after Revenue Minister Udhayakumar said the Centre has not given a clarification on the queries raised by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on the newly-added questions in the NPR form.

“The newly added three questions have created a panic among minorities and Muslim communities. Our Chief Minister wrote a letter to the centre seeking clarification on the newly added questions but we didn’t receive any response. In many states, the notifications for NPR and census have been issued but in TN we have issued notification only for the census. The 2020 NPR contains additional data fields compared to 2010, everyone is aware of it. Since we didn’t receive any reply from the centre, NPR has been put on hold in Tamil Nadu,” he added.

Udhayakumar’s comment comes a day after the state government maintained its stand on the Citizenship Law saying it will not be able to pass a resolution in the assembly against the Central legislation passed in the assembly. Opposing the AIADMK’s stand, the DMK and its allies staged a walkout from the house.

“The opposition has been making a claim that people are been forced to submit the documents to prove their identity, It is not true. There is no need to submit any documents to prove their identity,” he added.

When he was asked about the comment made by DMK leader MK Stalin where he said that AIADMK government is not passing a resolution in the assembly because the minister’s fear that they will be sent to prison, Udhyakumar said this is a sensitive issue and the government is capable of making a better comment than the opposition leader. “The minority communities should think about how the AIADMK government has been protecting their interest for many years. Amma’s government will not allow any action that will affect the Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.

The Palaniswami government had earlier written to the Centre that certain information and documents like Aadhaar should be avoided in the upcoming Census in an apparent reference to apprehensions being raised over certain aspects of the National Population Register process.

“No injustice will be meted out to any minority brother and sister in Tamil Nadu. The government will not allow any activity against minorities. AIADMK will be a true friend for the Muslim community forever,” a party statement said last month appealing for maintaining communal harmony amid protests in the state against the NPR, NRC, and the CAA.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah reiterated that no documents would be required to be submitted during the NPR exercise, adding that no one would be marked “doubtful”.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during a debate on the riots in northeast Delhi, Amit Shah said, “I am again repeating that no documents will be needed for National Population Register (NPR). All the information asked is optional. Nobody has to fear from the process of NPR. There will be no ‘D’ (doubtful) category.”

The NPR exercise is to be carried out with the house-listing phase of Census 2020 and is scheduled to begin on April 1. The NPR, data for which was first collected in 2010 and updated in 2015, is a list of “usual residents of the country”.

So far, West Bengal, Kerala, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh have asked the Centre to halt the exercise of updating the NPR. The Bihar Assembly resolution demands that the NPR exercises be carried out in accordance with the 2010 format.

According to the Home Ministry, a “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least six months or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.

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