The Jharkhand Assembly on Monday passed a resolution against the National Register of Citizens and said that the National Population Register exercise should be carried out using the 2010 format, PTI reported.
The resolution was moved by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam and passed by the House without discussion amid protests by Bharatiya Janata Party members. The House was then adjourned because of coronavirus.
“In the present format having 15 points, people will be asked about date and place of birth of parents,” Alam told The Hindu. “Most people in Jharkhand will not be able to answer these questions. Most people even don’t know their own date of birth.”
Alam said that NPR would be followed by NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. “People did not want the NPR to be conducted in the present format,” he told the paper. “People from different sections of society, MLAs and political parties had been demanding the rejection of the NRC and the NPR so we passed this resolution.”
Jharkhand BJP chief Deepak Prakash said it was unfortunate that the resolution was passed without discussion. “The country is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the state is under lockdown,” he said, according to PTI. “Passing the resolution under such a circumstance without a discussion is unfortunate.”
Last month, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had 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 in Bihar
Several other states have passed resolutions against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Congress-ruled Rajasthan had passed a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act in January, the third state to do so after Kerala and Punjab. Later, West Bengal and Telangana also passed resolutions to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Earlier this month, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government, which is a BJP ally, said it had not begun work on the population register. The administration said it would do so only after the Centre clarified certain aspects of the exercise, assuaging fears of minority communities. On March 13, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against the NPR exercise, claiming it would also impact the majority population.
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.
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.