The Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Friday, 13 March.
The resolution “earnestly” appealed to the Centre to withdraw and not carry out the whole exercise of NRC and NPR “in the interest of the nation, particularly when the economy is witnessing the worst-ever downslide and unemployment is witnessing a terrifying growth, and with the threat of the corona pandemic looming large.”
It also said “should the Government of India insist on going ahead” with the exercise, it should be restricted to carrying out the NPR only with its 2010 format and no new fields added to it.
Delhi joins the list of the assemblies of Puducherry, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal in passing resolutions either against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) or the NRC or the NPR.
Delhi Cabinet minister Gopal Rai earlier in the day, moved the resolution in the state Assembly, demanding that the Centre focus on the Indian economy and the coronavirus pandemic instead.
If NPR has to be implemented, they must ensure that all new entries in it are withdrawn, Rai said. "The NPR updation should be stalled in Delhi. And if the Centre insists, the process should be carried out in accordance with the 2010 format.”
Kejriwal Urges Govt to De-Link NPR, NRC
At a special daylong session of the Delhi Assembly, which was held to discuss the NPR and the NRC, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal requested the Centre to withdraw the documents since those were inter-linked.
“Me, my wife, my entire cabinet do not have birth certificates to prove citizenship. Will we be sent to detention centres?,” he asked.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo challenged Union ministers to show their birth certificates issued by the government.
He asked the MLAs to raise their hands if they had birth certificates, following which only nine legislators in the 70-member House raised their hands.
"Sixty-one members of the House do not have birth certificates," Kejriwal said, adding, "Will they be sent to detention centres?" He claimed that with the NPR being implemented from next month, not only Muslims, but also Hindus who do not have birth certificates issued by a government agency will be affected.
"If you are a Muslim and do not have documents, you will be sent to a detention centre. If you are a Hindu from Pakistan, you will be given citizenship. But if you are an Indian Hindu and do not have documents, you will still be sent to a detention centre," the chief minister said.
Centre Should Roll Back NRC, NPR
"On the basis of the NPR, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be done. People are scared of this... I request the Centre that at a time when the Indian economy is down and coronavirus is spreading, it should use its resources on these issues. The Centre should roll back the NRC and the NPR. Even if they wish to go forward, the NPR should be done as per the 2010 format," Rai said as he tabled the resolution.
Later, the House took up the resolution for discussion, during which AAP MLA Atishi said, "The Census Act doesn't define the NPR, but the Citizenship Act does. The only purpose of the NPR is to convert it into NRC. Through the NPR, the central government is trying to make a back-door entry to the NRC. We oppose the NPR."
AAP has verbally clarified several times that it is against the NRC, saying the country's attention should be on the economy and employment. The party had been saying that the poor do not have enough documents for the NRC.
(With inputs from IANS, PTI)