New Delhi: The Government on Tuesday categorically clarified in the Lok Sabha that "till now, the Government has not taken any decision to prepare a national register of Indian citizens." Therefore, the question of a timeline for implementing the NRC does not arise.
In written replies to specific questions on the National Population Register (NPR), the Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said that no document is to be collected during the exercise to update the national population data.
He stated that respondents are only expected to provide information true to the best of their knowledge and belief."Demographic and other particulars of each family and individual are to be updated/collected. No document is to be collected during the exercise;
The Aadhaar number is to be given voluntarily. Further, no verification is to be done to ferret out individuals whose citizenship is doubtful, during the exercise." the minister replied.
He also replied in negative to a question whether the state governments are being taken into confidence before introduction of NRC and whether some state governments have written to the Centre on refusal to implement the NRC in their respective states.
The minister was, however, silent on his senior colleague Amit Shah's declaration many times to implement the NRC by 2024.Rai's denial of any move to implement the NRC runs contrary to Shah's repeated statement while introducing the Bill to amend the Citizenship Act that the government will bring the CAA first and then a countrywide NRC.
It were these statements that triggered massive protests across India and in many universities in different states. Anti-CAA and NRC protests have continued for the last two months in Delhi and other parts of the nation.
Home Minister Shah even repeatedly said the Modi government will bring nationwide NRC by 2024, while PM Modi said such claims were lies and the canard was being spread by the Opposition to create unrest in the country.
That created the buzz: Was the home minister lying or is Modi trying to wriggle out of the logjam in view of the protests across the country?Very soon, Shah went back on his comments and said the government has no such plan as of now. The protests triggered by his earlier comments, however, did not die down.
Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said almost every opposition party, including the DMK, the CPI, the CPM, the NCP, the RJD, the TMC, the SP, and the BSP, gave notices in the Rajya Sabha under Rule 267 on its first working day on Monday, seeking an adjournment of all business to facilitate a discussion on CAA, NPR and NRC.
He said the demand was raised on Tuesday as well. He said: "For the last two months, India is on the road since the citizenship bill became an Act. Earlier, too, in the UPA regime, the NPR was conducted but the questions were simple.
But in the NPR proposed under the current government, crucial details such as the date of birth of the parents have been asked for."On the nationwide protests, Azad said:
"The government paints it as a Hindu-Muslim issue. We feel that there is no Hindu-Muslim issue." The government was doing all this to deliberately divert attention from its failure to deliver on its promises, he added.