Author Arundhati Roy on Wednesday said that the National Population Register will serve as a database for the National Register of Citizens, and asked citizens to oppose the first by furnishing wrong names and addresses, PTI reported. Roy, at a protest gathering at Delhi University, also alleged that the National Register of Citizens is against Indian Muslims.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had claimed on Tuesday that there was no relation between the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens. He also asserted that detention camps have not been set up for people who will be excluded from the National Register of Citizens.
The National Population Register, introduced by the Congress-led government in 2010, is a register of citizens in the country that will contain demographic and biometric details. On Tuesday, the Union Cabinet approved funds of more than Rs 3,900 crore to update the register. The Census of India website describes it as “the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens”.
Roy said that government officials will visit the homes of people for taking their names, addresses and other details under the National Population Register exercise. “They will visit your homes, take your name, phone number and ask for documents like Aadhaar and driving licences,” she said. “NPR will become basis of NRC. We need to fight against it and have a plan.”
Roy said that people should give a different name to the officials, and cite their address as 7 Race Course Road (the official residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi). “A lot of subversion will be needed, we are not born to face lathis [batons] and bullets,” she added.
The author accused Modi of lying at his Ramlila Maidan rally in Delhi on Sunday, in which he had claimed that his government never said anything about the National Register of Citizens process, and that there are no detention camps in the country. “He told the lie knowing that it will be caught but still he lied because he has media with him which will not question him,” Roy alleged.
Roy said that due to widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens throughout the country, the government is now trying to push the register through the National Population Register. At least 24 people have been killed, including 17 in Uttar Pradesh, during protests against the Act.
“Attacks are taking place on Muslims in Uttar Pradesh,” Roy said. “Police are going house to house ransacking and looting.” The author claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens are also against the Dalits, Adivasis and the poor people of the country.
The protest was organised by the Joint Committee For Action Against CAA/NRC. Bollywood actor Zeeshan Ayyub, who also addressed the demonstration, said that the students and youth of the country were fighting for the right cause and will achieve success.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, seeks to provide citizenship to religious minorities from six communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but excludes Muslims from its scope, leading to the charge that the law is anti-Muslim. On the other hand, the proposed National Register of Citizens is an exercise to identify and distinguish undocumented immigrants from genuine Indian citizens.