In written reply to Lok Sabha, minister says no decision on National Register of Citizens
The Centre reiterated on Tuesday it does not have any plans to introduce the National Register of Citizens across the country so far as protests against NRC and the amended citizenship act continue to rage.
“Till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) at the national level,” Union minister of state for home affair Nityanand Rai said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
The home ministry has also said that “the question does not arise” on queries about the modalities of a nationwide NRC and how it would put additional burden on citizens.
Several opposition parties had given notices in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seeking debate and answers on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC and National Population Register (NPR) on Monday as Parliament opened for the Budget Session.
The DMK, CPI, CPI(M), NCP, RJD, TMC, SP and BSP gave notices under Rule 267 to adjourn all business and discuss the CAA, NPR and National Register of Citizens.
The passage of the CAA in December last year 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 amended law say it is discriminatory and unconstitutional as it leaves out 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 two million people from the NRC last year. The ministry and the government have since clarified there are no immediate plans for a national NRC.
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 NRC 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.