Tale of two national registers that have Mamata in a fix
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is facing political heat for supporting the National Population Register (NPR) while opposing the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being projected as a subset of NPR by critics.
A government notice issued on December 10 by the Howrah district magistrate seeking appointment of enumerators for NPR has led to allegations that Mamata Banerjee government was not serious about stopping the implementation of NRC in the state.
Mamata Banerjee has spoken against CAA and NRC but sought people’s cooperation for the NPR exercise linked to the 2020 general census.
The National Population Register (NPR) is a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country under the provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship Rules, 2003. It is mandatory for every ‘usual’ resident of India to register in the NPR.
A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR, as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more, or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
The Left parties and the All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) claim NPR is the first step to nation-wide NRC and will oppose its implementation along with some other parties in the three separate rallies in Kolkata on December 18 and 19.
“Mamata Banerjee is fooling people, especially the Muslims, because she is urging them to participate in NPR,” said Zameerul Hassan, a key organiser of AIMIM.
CPI(M) leader Md Salim said CAA, NRC and NPR were “different episodes of the same mega serial”.
“By cooperating in NPR, Mamata Banerjee is deliberately misleading the people and helping the BJP’s NRC agenda,” said Salim.
A third organisation, called No NRC Movement – an umbrella of various socio-religious and human rights groups – has also decided to oppose NPR.
TMC Lok Sabha MP Kalyan Banerjee said the Left parties and AIMIM had joined hands with the BJP to create confusion and destabilise the state.
“Mamata Banerjee’s commitment against CAA and NRC is unquestionable,” the MP said.
Data for NPR was first conducted in 2010 and updated in 2015. The exercise is to be conducted again in 2020, along with the house-listing phase of the census.