During budget session, MHA likely to face questions over CAA, nationwide NRC
A majority of questions addressed to the Union home ministry for its response during Parliament’s upcoming budget session relate to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR), a pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the crackdown on student protesters in Delhi, according to a list of the queries seen by HT.
Ministers of state for home G Kishan Reddy and Nityanand Rai will respond to these queries on February 4 and 5, officials in the ministry said. Union home minister Amit Shah may also make a statement on the issues during the session that will begin on Friday.
The passage of the CAA last month to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims who entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before 2015 triggered protests across the country. Opponents of the law insist it is discriminatory and unconstitutional as it leaves out the Muslims and links faith to citizenship in a secular country. They say it could result in the expulsion or detentions of the Muslims unable to provide the documentation if the law is seen in the context of the proposed pan-India NRC. A process to identify undocumented immigrants in Assam led to the exclusion of around 2 million people from the NRC last year. The ministry and the government have since clarified there are no immediate plans for a national NRC.
The NPR is a comprehensive biometric database of all “usual residents” in India as opposed to the Census, which is a database of households. It has generated controversy with the Opposition parties contending the exercise is linked to the National Register for Indian Citizens aimed at identifying undocumented immigrants. The government has in the past described NPR as the first step towards a nationwide NRC. It now maintains that there is no link between the two.
Out of 63 questions listed for the ministry in Parliament’s upper House, Rajya Sabha, for February 5, 19 seek details on the countrywide anti-CAA protests, number of arrests related to them, data on illegal immigrants, and details of citizenship given to refugees including Muslims. They also seek to know the concerns of protestors, and information on cases referred to Foreigners’ Tribunals, detention of refugees, detention centres, modalities of NPR, documents required to prove citizenship, as well as the exclusion of people from the NRC in Assam last year.
Seven queries are likely to be raised in the Upper House on the same day related to the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students on January 5 and the December 15 Delhi police action against Jamia Millia Islamia students.
A mob of masked assailants attacked JNU students and left several students, including student leader Aishe Ghosh, injured. The Delhi police, which was accused of inaction, is yet to make any headway in its probe into the mob attack.
A question listed to be asked in Rajya Sabha seeks details on “police brutality” on Jamia students and rules for entry of police into a university campus. The Delhi police entered the Jamia campus on December 15 and allegedly thrashed students protesting against the CAA.
Similarly, out of 47 tentative questions listed for the ministry in Lok Sabha on February 4, 16 seek details on anti-CAA protests, and details of citizenship provided to refugees including Muslims.