The Bihar Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution against the implementation of the proposed National Register of Citizens, ANI reported. The Assembly also passed a resolution to implement the National Population Register the way it was done in 2010-2011 with an amendment. All the 54 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs in the Assembly also voted in favour of the resolution.
Earlier on Tuesday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the state government has written to the Centre seeking omission of contentious clauses from National Population Register forms. His statement was in response to a debate on an adjournment motion on the amended Citizenship Act, National Register of Citizens and NPR moved by Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav and others.
Addressing the legislators in the Bihar Assembly, Kumar said there should be no confusion about how the NPR exercise will be carried out in Bihar, and that no citizen will be obligated to give details such as place of birth or that of their parents.
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 said the letter on behalf of the Bihar government also proposes that transgender persons be included under the “gender column” of the NPR form, the Times of India reported.
Chaos prevailed after Kumar’s response was interrupted by several members of the Opposition who began chanting “kala kanoon”, or black law, in the Assembly. Bharatiya Janata Party ministers Nand Kishore Yadav and Vijay Kumar Sinha then countered the opposition with the question: “Does Parliament pass a black law?” The House proceedings were adjourned for 15 minutes after legislators from both sides trooped into the well.
On Sunday, Kumar had 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.
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 had said 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 apprehension. 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.