Won’t implement NPR as people are afraid: Kerala
The statement said the state police chief has also given a report that the implementation of the NPR will vitiate the atmosphere.Updated: Jan 21, 2020 05:34 IST
The Kerala government on Monday cited a sense of fear among the people while reiterating it will not implement the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR) in the state even as it will cooperate with the Census operations.
“A sense of fear has gripped the people. It is the government’s duty to help people come out of this fear and also maintain the law and order in the state. If the NPR and National Register of Citizens [NRC] are implemented, it will vitiate the atmosphere. That is why the state government took this decision,” a press release from chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office said. It said the NPR will pave way for the NRC’s implementation.
The statement said the state police chief has also given a report that the implementation of the NPR will vitiate the atmosphere. “District collectors have also informed the government that it was difficult to carry out Census procedures if mixed with the NPR.”
The NPR, which will be updated from April 2020 along with the house listing exercise for the Census, is a comprehensive biometric database of all “usual residents”. The Census is a database of households.
The NPR has generated controversy as Opposition parties have contended that the exercise is linked to the National Register for Indian Citizens (NRIC) aimed at identifying illegal immigrants. West Bengal, too, has announced it will not participate in the NPR exercise.
The government has in the past described the NPR as the first step towards a nationwide NRC. It now maintains that there is no link between the two and that an all-India NRC is not immediately on the anvil in the backdrop of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA.
The passage of the CAA last month to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before 2015, has triggered protests. 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 a 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 Kerala government last week directed officials to ensure that the NPR is not mentioned while sending any communication regarding the Census.
“We will inform the Census directorate that certain questions which will go for the preparation of the NPR will not be done here,” said state minister AC Moideen. The state government will ask enumerators to exclude questions regarding the dates of birth of respondents and details of their parents from the Census questionnaire, he added.