Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday that no document will be needed for the National Population Register and no person will be put into the D (doubtful) category, NDTV reported. Shah made the remarks during a speech in the Rajya Sabha.
“No document needs to be submitted,” Shah said during a discussion on the Delhi violence. “You can give whatever information you have and leave other questions blank.” Violent clashes had erupted between supporters and opponents of the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi last month, leaving 53 dead and over 500 injured. Opponents of the Act have also been protesting against the National Register of Citizens and the NPR.
On Thursday, Shah also asked Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad to meet him along with other Opposition MPs if they had doubts about the NPR.
However, Congress leader Kapil Sibal was not satisfied. “It is not correct of the home minister saying they will not be asking for these documents, what is the use of this exercise then?” he asked.
Sibal said the new NPR format has to be looked at in the light of the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Hindustan Times reported. “When NPR is done, 10 more questions will be asked and when the enumerator puts a D [doubtful] mark against the name of the respondents, then they will be targeted. Sibal claimed that the CAA was not against Muslims but against the poor.
The new NPR data is scheduled to be collected from April to September along with the decennial Census exercise. However, states such as 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 during the National Register of Citizens exercise. Even Nitish Kumar, a Bharatiya Janata Party ally and the chief minister of Bihar, has said that NPR will not be implemented in the state in its new form, but only according to its 2010 format.
The Census of India website describes the NPR as “the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens”. However, the government has consistently denied links between NRC, NPR and the Citizenship Amendment Act. 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.