Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday reiterated that the National Register of Citizens would not be implemented in his state and added that the National Population Register would be updated in the way that it was done in 2010-2011, PTI reported.
“NRC is not going to be implemented here and only NPR will be carried out the way it was done in the year 2010,” Kumar said while speaking at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Darbhanga district. “It will be done on the basis of that only.”
The questions introduced in the new NPR form include details of parents’ birth, Aadhaar number, passport number, mobile phone number, voter ID number and mother tongue.
Kumar, who is a key ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, had earlier also urged the Centre to use the 2011 form for the National Population Register instead of a new one. “The new NPR form is creating more apprehensions and fear,” Kumar told journalists in January. “There are many columns, like place and date of birth of parents, which are unnecessary.”
“If you ask me, even I don’t know the date of birth of my mother,” he had added. “I have been told that these columns are optional. One can leave it blank. But leaving a column blank will give rise to more suspicion and apprehensions. So, I would appeal to the Centre to stick to the old NPR form [of 2010-11] instead of the new one.”
The National Population Register – a list of “usual residents” – is scheduled to be updated simultaneously with the house-listing phase of the decennial Census exercise from April 1 to September 30. “Usual residents” are those who have stayed at a place for six months or intend to stay there for the next six months. The Centre has argued that the National Population Register has nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens and is part of the Census.
As first reported by Scroll.in, the NPR is the first step to creating an all-India National Register of Citizens, which would identify undocumented migrants residing in India. This has led to scepticism from states ruled by parties that are not part of the National Democratic Alliance. Till now, West Bengal and Kerala have suspended all work related to the NPR, while several Congress-ruled states are mulling similar action.
The government’s critics and some protestors fear that the amended Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens will be misused to target Muslims since the Citizenship Act now has religion as a criterion. There are now fears that a nation-wide National Register of Citizens will be imposed. The Assam NRC had left out around 6% of the state’s population.
The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.