Will urge Centre to amend NPR form: Nitish Kumar
Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar said on Tuesday that his party would urge the Centre to drop columns pertaining to birth dates and places of parents in the National Population Register (NPR) form, since they have led to “apprehensions” among many.
Kumar, who has been running a coalition government in the state with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the few new questions, which were recently added to the 2011 NPR exercise, will now be deleted to allay the concerns of people. “It must be kept in mind that the NPR exercise has been conducted previously. Of course, there are misgivings about columns asking people to disclose the places of birth of their parents since most citizens might not be aware of the same,” Kumar told reporters after presiding over a meeting of JD (U) parliamentarians, legislators and office-bearers of the party’s Bihar unit.
“Our leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will urge (the government) to drop these columns, if possible,” he added.
Stressing that a large number of people, particularly those belonging to the economically backward sections, do not have the proof of their parents’ birth dates and places, the JD(U) chief said: “Even I don’t recall my mother’s exact date of birth. And if it is not mandatory to provide it, why it is necessary to ask for it?”.
Kumar, whose party voted in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament, also acknowledged that the enactment of the amended act had led to “unrest” across the country but hoped the misgivings would be addressed by the Supreme Court, which is hearing petitions challenging the contentious legislation. “Everybody is entitled to their view. But these debates have no meaning. I appeal to all to exercise restraint as the matter has reached the apex court and it will be settled there,” he said. The chief minister reiterated his opposition to the nationwide National Register of Citizens, and highlighted that “the prime minister, too, has clarified that such a move is not in the offing”.