Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said he will set up a coordination panel of senior leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to study various aspects of the proposed National Population Register, PTI reported. Thackeray had expressed support for the NPR last week, but had said his state would reject the National Register of Citizens.
“Responsible leaders of the three parties [the Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party] will be part of the coordination committee on NPR,” Thackeray told the media at the Vidhan Bhawan in Mumbai, where the Budget Session of the state Assembly is underway. “I won’t let anyone snatch the right of any citizens of Maharashtra. I am very clear on this.”
On Friday, the Shiv Sena chief met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a visit to New Delhi. After the meeting, he said the proposed National Register of Citizens would not be implemented in Maharashtra. However, he also said that nobody needs to be afraid of the Citizenship Amendment Act and that the National Population Register would not “throw anyone” out of the country.
He made it clear that the NPR exercise would be stopped in the state if there were objections raised against the questionnaire for the register. “If there are new columns proposed in the NPR, they will be scrutinised by our government and if it seems problematic we won’t take it ahead,” he tweeted.
However, alliance partner Congress, which opposes all three – the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens – had said on Sunday that Thackeray needed a “briefing” to understand how the NPR was the basis of the NRC.
Critics have said that the NRC, in tandem with the Citizenship Amendment Act, could be used to render many Indian Muslims stateless since the citizenship law excludes Muslims. The National Population Register is said to be the first step towards creating an all-India National Register of Citizens.