Amit Shah Denies NPR-NRC Link, Modi Government Itself Linked It In Parliament
On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah clarified that there is no link between the National Population Register(NPR) and the National Register of Citizens(NRC). He also mentioned that both are governed by separate laws, and NPR data will not be used for NRC purpose.
In an interview with ANI, Shah said “NPR is a register of population and NRC is a register of citizens. There is no link between the two, and they have different purposes. NPR will also not affect anyone’s nationality. Even if somebody’s name is missing from NPR, even then his citizenship will not be threatened.”
He further said that the government discussed nationwide NRC neither in the cabinet nor in the Parliament. These remarks come at the time when the Union Cabinet approved the proposal for conducting Census of India 2021 and updating the NPR.
The Union Home Minister also mentioned that it was the UPA government which started the NPR to be held once every ten years and the present government is only carrying it forward as it was a “good exercise”. He also slammed the Opposition for doing politics over NPR, while mocking them at the same time.
But the Annual Report of the Ministry of Home Affairs for the year 2018-2019, states it very clearly that the “National Population Register (NPR) is the first step towards the creation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).”
Difference Between NPR And NRC
National Population Register or the NPR is a register of the population. It is a list of all the residents who have lived in a locality for at least the last six months and intends to live in that locality for the next six months or more. It includes both demographic and biometric details of every resident of India.
On the other hand, the National Register of Citizens or the NRC is an official register of the legal citizens of India. It includes the demographic details of the individuals who qualify as citizens as per the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Shah Contradicts Government’s Stand
If we look at the Citizenship Rules of 2003 under the Citizenship Act, 1955, NPR is part and parcel of the rules framed for NRC. During the first term of the Modi government, on at least nine occasions, it stated that NRC will be conducted based on NPR data concluding that both go hand in hand. Thus, leading to a messy situation for the government which has in recent times come under severe criticism due to the new Citizenship Act.
Prominently, Shah has frequently spoken about CAA and NRC in the same breath and even asked people to understand the “chronology” where NRC would follow CAA. He has also repeatedly said that NRC would be implemented across the country.
During the first term of Modi government, the then Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, had on several occasions stated that NPR’s logical conclusion would be the creation of National Register of Indian Citizens.
According to The Indian Express report, former Kiren Rijiju in Parliament, on July 8, 2014, in a written reply to a question by Congress MP Rajeev Satav, had mentioned that link between NRC and NPR. “The scheme of NPR has been reviewed and it has been decided that NPR should be completed and taken to its logical conclusion, which is the creation of National Register of Indian Citizens by verification of citizenship status of every usual resident in the NPR.”
On November 26, 2014, Rijiju told Rajya Sabha, “The NPR is the first step towards the creation of National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) by verifying the citizenship status of every usual resident.”
Differing with the PM over detention centres, Shah admitted there were detention centres already ready for operations in Assam and Karnataka. However, he chose not to link them with NRC.
Even though Shah tried to subdue the rumours regarding NPR-NRC link in the interview with the ANI, he was unable to establish them with relevant facts and data.