AAP Govt Moves Anti-NPR Resolution in Delhi Assembly
NEW DELHI : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government is latest among the non-BJP ruled states which has moved a resolution against the implementation of National Population Register (NPR) process.
The Delhi Assembly today passed a resolution against the NPR (national population register) and NRC (national register of citizens), with 61 of 70 MLAs responding in the negative when Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked if they still had their birth certificates.
The resolution was tabled in the legislative assembly by senior party leader and state Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai. With 62 out of 70 MLAs on their side, the Arvind Kejriwal government was poised to get the resolution passed in the House.
The Delhi Assembly’s resolution comes a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who has led the centre’s charge on the NPR and NRC, insisted that no document would have to be shown for the NPR.
“No document needs to be submitted. You can give whatever information you have and leave the other questions blank,” Mr Shah said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday while replying to a discussion on last month’s violence in Delhi.
Earlier in the week, reports had confirmed that Chief Minister Kejriwal was considered to change his stand on anti-CAA-NPR-NRC resolution. While he had last month ruled out the passage of a resolution against the Centre’s citizenship law claiming that it would not achieve much, Kejriwal has now decided to consolidate his position against the NPR drive which has stoked panic among minorities and other vulnerable groups.
Mr Kejriwal called this a “big message” and said “the Assembly has passed the resolution to not implement NPR in the national capital”. The Chief Minister included himself in the list of people without birth certificates, telling the Assembly that neither he nor his family had the documents.
“Me, my wife, my entire cabinet don’t have birth certificates to prove citizenship. Will we be sent to detention centres?” Arvind Kejriwal asked in the Assembly today, after asking MLAs to raise their hands if they had the documents.
Only nine lawmakers raised hands. Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has 62 MLAs in the house, after winning last month’s elections. The remaining seats are held by the BJP. “I urge the centre to withdraw National Population Register and National Register of Citizens,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Mr Kejriwal also challenged Union Ministers to show their certificates. In its resolution, the Delhi Assembly said the proposed NPR and NRC had created “an atmosphere of fear and panic” over concerns that those who could not prove their citizenship will be sent to the detention centres.
Noting that more than 90 per cent of Indians do not have requisite documents, as listed by the centre, the resolution asked for clarifications over use of NPR data in NRC and what an individual must do if s/he lacks documents.
Several states have refused to carry out the NPR, an exercise seen by many to be a precursor to the equally controversial NRC. Both exercises, along with the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), have provoked nationwide protests, with critics saying they may be used to target and harass Muslims.
The states that have objected include Bihar and Tamil Nadu, both of which are ruled by BJP allies; Nitish Kumar’s JDU is in power in Bihar and the AIADMK rules Tamil Nadu. Others include Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal and Left-ruled Kerala, both of which have refused to carry out the NPR.
In the 2020 NPR, there are eight additional data fields that ask for parents’ birthplace and date of birth, a person’s present and permanent address, mother tongue and nationality.