‘BJP won’t decide if we are Indians or not’: SP leader Akhilesh Yadav says won’t fill NPR form
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said on Sunday he will not fill the form to determine citizenship under the National Population Register (NPR) as he called out the Centre for overlooking problems hurting the economy.
“The BJP won’t decide if we are Indians or not. We don’t want NPR. What we want are employment and livelihood. The experts are saying that the economy is in ICU,” Akhilesh Yadav said while speaking at an event to welcome students’ union leaders.
“Mahatma Gandhi had shown the way in South Africa. He had burned some cards. Here, we will be the first who will not fill the NPR forms. I will not fill any form, now you decide if you would fill nor not,” he said.
The Union cabinet approved fund allocation for updating NPR last week, putting the official stamp on a revised pan-India list of “usual residents”, but attempted to distance the exercise from the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The government said NPR would be linked to the 2021 Census, and would not require a documentation process on the lines of the recently concluded NRC in Assam.
However, opposition parties have said the process is the first step towards a nationwide NRC — a proposed exercise that has led to mass protests across the country over the past two weeks, particularly over its possible link with recent amendments to the citizenship law.
The Samajwadi Party leader also mounted his attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central and Uttar Pradesh governments over the amended citizenship law as he pulled up chief minister Yogi Adityanath for police crackdown during the anti-CAA protests.
Akhilesh blamed Adityanath for the deaths of the protesters who were hit by bullets during the agitations against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“It’s the chief minister’s language that led to the deaths. And now prompted by his language, the state government officers too are speaking in the same voice,” Akhilesh said.
The former chief minister was referring to the comments made by Meerut’s superintendent of police (city), Akhilesh Narayan Singh, who was caught on camera telling a group of Muslims to go to Pakistan during the protests in the sensitive town against the citizenship act.
“The actions of officers, who committed excesses (during the CAA protests and related to it), have been caught on CCTV cameras. When we will form the government, we will order a probe and act against them,” he said.
“A sitting judge of HC or SC should probe the police action during the CAA protests.”
More than 20 people have died in several towns across Uttar Pradesh in the last two weeks during violent protests against the new citizenship law that favours non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The government and the police have been criticised for being heavy-handed, a charge they have denied.
As he targeted the Adityanath-led government over imposing internet shutdown and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, he also lashed out at the chief minister for his move to make protesters pay for the damages to property during the violence.
“The way this government is issuing notices to realise damages for properties. We too will realise damages for the properties damages in 2007 riots in Gorakhpur,” he said.
He was referring to the riots in 2007 when his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav was the chief minister. Adityanath was one of the accused in the riots that year.
As Akhilesh Yadav congratulated various student leaders, who were recently elected to various students’ unions, he seemed to hint at a struggle in the future.
“Conserve your energies, and use it at the appropriate time,” he said.