Residents of a Greater Noida village allegedly held a state government team conducting an economic survey hostage on Tuesday, after they were considered to be surveyors collecting information on the National Register of Citizens, The Indian Express reported.
Raj Singh, a village-level entrepreneur, and his team were collecting data on services provided to locals in areas where internet connectivity is less than optimal, the police said. However, the team comprised of five to six people, was stopped and held hostage by the residents of the village.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Greater Noida) Rajesh Kumar Singh said: “We received information on Tuesday that a group of officials had reached village Chholas in Greater Noida to conduct a survey. A particular section of the community became afraid as they could not understand the purpose of the inquiry. An argument took place and the officials were held hostage for a while before police arrived.”
Rajesh Kumar Singh added that one person has been arrested and others will be held soon. The police have registered a case against 41 persons, including 40 unidentified individuals, at the Jarcha Police Station, under sections 147 (rioting), 506 (intimidation), 353 (assault), 323 (causing hurt) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code.
The police said a resident of Delhi, identified as Jawed, was visiting the village when the incident took place. The police alleged that Jawed had instigated the villagers to protest against the survey, but fled when they arrived. The Greater Noida Police is looking for Jawed and other accused at the moment.
In January, residents of a locality in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh mistook a polio vaccination team for National Population Register enumerators, and allegedly assaulted them. The residents of Lakhipura locality in Lisari Gate purportedly held the team hostage after beating them.
In the same month, a team of researchers from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh were mistaken for surveyors of the National Register of Citizens in Bihar’s Darbhanga district, and handed over to the police. On January 22, instances of government officials and individuals working in the private sector being assaulted were reported from Kota town in Rajasthan and Birbhum district in West Bengal.
Immunisation and health department officials faced opposition from Muslim residents in several parts of Hyderabad on January 20 and January 21. Residents of some localities accused the officials of secretly collecting information for the NRC and NPR.
NRC and NPR
As first reported by Scroll.in, the NPR is the first step to creating an all-Indian National Register of Citizens which would identify undocumented migrants residing in India. On December 24, the government allotted Rs 3,900 crore for the NPR initiative. However, it has denied that the NPR is in any way linked with the NRC, and claimed that the register is meant only for census data.
The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to distinguish undocumented migrants from genuine Indian citizens. One such exercise, carried out in Assam last year, led to the exclusion of over 19 lakh people.
There have been nationwide protests against the NRC, NPR and Citizenship Amendment Act over the past two months. At least 28 people have died in protests, including 19 in Uttar Pradesh itself.