At 20-party meet, Oppn raises bar for chief ministers who spoke against NRC
It isn’t clear how the boycott will work on the ground. State government officials, who are tasked by the Census Commissioner under the Union Home Ministry to go house-to-house for the first phase of the decadal headcount in April-May this year, are expected to enumerate people for the population register too.Updated: Jan 13, 2020 20:50 IST
A meeting of 20 opposition parties, led by the Congress, on Monday rebutted the government efforts to delink amendments to the citizenship law with the population register and asked all chief ministers who have spoken against the National Register of Citizens, or NRC to stop enumeration for the National Population Register, or NPR.
“The CAA, NPR and NRC is a package that is unconstitutional, which specifically targets the poor, the downtrodden, the SC/STs and the linguistic & religious minorities. The NPR is the basis for the NRC,” the meeting of opposition parties said in a resolution that was passed at the end of the meeting.
Several opposition parties had absented themselves from the meeting, three of them - Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and DMK - because of the central role that the Sonia Gandhi’s Congress had played to convene the strategy meet.
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“We demand the withdrawal of the CAA and the immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR. All the Chief Ministers, who have announced that they will not implement NRC in their State, must consider to suspend the NPR enumeration as this is a prelude to NRC,” the opposition parties said in their joint statement.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, one of the first states to announce that she will boycott the meeting, has already declared that Bengal won’t allow the NPR enumeration to take place. So has Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan.
It isn’t clear how the boycott will work on the ground. State government officials, who are tasked by the Census Commissioner under the Union Home Ministry to go house-to-house for the first phase of the decadal headcount in April-May this year, are expected to enumerate people for the population register too.
Congress-ruled states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chjhattisgarh have already declared that they will not implement the citizens’ register or change in the citizenship law that fast-tracks citizenship for undocumented migrants belonging to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The opposition leaders vowed to block the population register as well.
Blaming the government for the economic slowdown that they claimed had pushed the economy to the verge of a recession, the opposition leaders said the BJP had embarked “on a dangerous course of sharpening communal polarization” after coming to power in last year’s national elections.
They also came up with a calendar of three days - Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on January 23, Republic Day on January 26 and Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary on January 26 - and asked people to observe these days in an appropriate manner to defend the constitution. “This, we believe, is the duty of all Indian patriots,” the statement said.