Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said he will not block the implementation of the National Population Register in the state as there was nothing controversial about it, PTI reported. He said he will “personally check the columns” in the exercise.
As first reported by Scroll.in, the NPR is the first step to creating the all-India National Register of Citizens, which will be used to identify undocumented immigrants. Kerala and West Bengal have suspended all work on the NPR. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath had on Monday said his government did not have any plans to update the National Population Register. The Centre has set a May 1 deadline for states to implement the two exercises.
The chief minister also said there was no reason for people to be afraid of the Citizenship Amendment Act and reiterated that he will not allow the implementation of the proposed National Register of Citizens.
“CAA and NRC are different and NPR is different,” he tweeted. “No one has to worry if CAA gets implemented. NRC is not there and will not be implemented in the state. If NRC is implemented then it will affect not only Hindus or Muslims but also Adivasis. NPR is a census, and I don’t find that anyone will be affected as it happens every 10 years.”
Last week, a minister in the Maharashtra government had said the state would not implement the National Population Register and the proposed National Register of Citizens until parties in the ruling alliance arrived at a consensus. The statement came after thousands of people participated in “maha morcha” protests against the NPR and NRC exercises, and the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Nationalist Congress Party leader and state Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad had dismissed reports that claimed that the state government had directed officials to start collecting data for the population register from May 1 to June 15 in a special drive.
In an interview to Sena mouthpiece Saamana on February 5, Thackeray had categorically ruled out the implementation of the National Register of Citizens, but said the Citizenship Amendment Act had been misunderstood.