Seeking to allay apprehensions about the updation of National Population Register (NPR), Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that there was no link between the National Population Register exercise and the National Register of Citizens and that the process of NPR cannot be used for NRC.
In an exclusive interview with ANI Editor Smita Prakash, Shah said that the information obtained through NPR cannot be used for NRC. He said the Union Cabinet has not ever discussed NRC. Shah's remarks came on a day when the Union Cabinet approved the proposal for conducting Census of India 2021 and updating of NPR.
"The process for NPR, cannot be used for NRC. The process (of NPR) was not started by the BJP-led government. In 2004, the UPA government made a law under which the process started and it was carried out during the 2010-11 census. The census is happening again and the government has decided to do it again. No data of NPR can be used for NRC as these are different processes. In NRC, documents are sought from people about citizenship and the process has happened in Assam," he added.
However, the Home Minister’s words sound dicy, according to the Citizenship Rules of 2003 under the Citizenship Act 1955, NRC is to be carried out on the basis of NPR. Also, during its first term, the Narendra Modi’s government said multiple times in the parliament that NRC will be conducted on the basis of the information received through the process of NPR, reported The Indian Express.
Here are the eight times the central government spoke on the connection between NRP and NRC:
The 2018-19 annual report from the Ministry of Home Affairs has mentioned that NPR is the first step towards implementing NRC. The report reads, “The National Population Register (NPR) is the first step towards the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) under the provisions of the aforementioned Statute (Citizenship Act).”
On July 8, 2014, the then MoS Home Kiren Rijiju had replied to a question put up by Congress MP Rajeev Satav in the parliament in written form. The reply was, “The scheme of NPR has been reviewed and it has been decided that NPR should be completed and taken to its logical conclusion, which is creation of NRIC by verification of citizenship status of every usual resident in the NPR.”
Kiren Rijiju has more than once linked the two controversial processes, NPR and NRC. Again on July 15 and July 22, Rijiju linked the two processes in the same manner as earlier in the parliament.
On July 23, Rijiju again made similar statements on the two processes in Rajya Sabha.
On November 29, 2014, Rijiju clearly stated in the Rajya Sabha that the NPR is the first step towards NRC. He had said, “The NPR is the first step towards creation of National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) by verifying the citizenship status of every usual resident.”
In April and July 2015, the then MoS Home Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhury reestablished the ‘logical conclusion’ statement in Lok Sabha.
Again in May 2015, it was Kiren Rijiju who asserted his earlier comments on NPR and NRC.
On November 11, 2016, Rijiju said during Rajya Sabha’s question hour, “The Government has approved the preparation of Population Register comprising details of usual residents in the country. The preparation of Population Register is a part of preparation of National Register of Indian Citizens under provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 read with the Citizenship Rules (2003).”