The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday said it has not started work on updating the National Population Register, and said the Centre needed to clarify queries on certain aspects of the exercise, reported PTI.
Making the announcement at a media briefing, the state’s Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar said Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami had written to the Centre about appropriate amendments to assuage fears among minority communities, especially Muslims. The Centre has not responded to the state’s queries related to Aadhaar, and details of parents, the minister added.
“Since the Centre is yet to respond to Tamil Nadu’s letter, NPR enumeration has not been started,” Udhayakumar said. The state government will begin the exercise only after getting clarification from the Centre, he added.
However, Udhayakumar asserted that no documents will have to be submitted for the NPR exercise. “We are repeating again that people need not submit any documents for NPR,” the state minister said. “During the NPR exercise, if the officials ask questions, whatever answers you are giving, it will be taken. No need to submit any documents.” The minister claimed the NPR applied to all religion and did not single out any particular one.
The 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 NPR has nothing to do with the NRC and is part of the Census. However, the NPR has been described as “the first step towards the creation of NRC”. On December 24 last year, the Cabinet approved funds of Rs 3,900 crore to update the population register. The NRC is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented migrants.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government is the second Bharatiya Janata Party ally to raise concerns over the population register. On February 23, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that NPR will not be implemented in the state in its new form, but only according to its 2010 format. He had also asserted that NRC would not be implemented under his administration.
So far, West Bengal and Kerala, and a few Congress-ruled states have issued orders stopping work on the population register amid apprehensions that it will be used to identify undocumented immigrants.