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60 Delhi MLAs & I could be ‘doubtful citizens’ if NPR-NRC take place, says Kejriwal

At a special session Friday, Delhi assembly passed a resolution that calls on the central government to withdraw the 'NPR-NRC exercise'.

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New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and most of his cabinet could be categorised as “doubtful” citizens of India if the National Population Register (NPR) is prepared in its current format, and a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) conducted.

Passing a resolution Friday that called on the central government to withdraw the “NPR-NRC exercise”, Kejriwal pointed out that 61 of Delhi’s 70 MLAs didn’t have birth certificates.

Addressing a special session of the Delhi assembly to discuss the NPR and NRC, CM Kejriwal said neither he, nor his wife and his parents, had birth certificates signed by a government authority. Among his ministers, deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Kailash Gehlot did not have birth certificates either, he added.

“Only my children have (the certificates) since both were born here in Delhi and the certificates were signed by the respective municipalities,” Kejriwal said.

In its resolution, the assembly said if the NPR is to be carried out, it should be according to the 2010 format — without fresh questions about the name and birthplace of one’s parents. It also called for “stalling NPR-NRC” in the national capital.


Also read: Decoding National Population Register: What it is & its link to NRC


AAP MLAs echo Kejriwal’s concerns

“We all will be sent to detention centres,” Kejriwal said as he pointed out that 11 states had gone against the NPR in its current form, including NDA states such as Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai tabled the resolution, saying the majority of Indians would suffer if the NPR was implemented.

The issue of NPR-NRC has been contentious for months now, resulting in protests in Assam that have since spread across the country. Following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December, critics have argued that the combination of NRC-NPR-CAA is a lethal government tool that could render many, especially Muslims, stateless.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have repeatedly issued assurances that legitimate citizens of India needn’t worry about the CAA. However, in light of the protests — the most recent resulting in communal riots in Delhi last month — the government is yet to notify rules for the CAA. After repeated references by Shah about a nationwide NRC, both he and PM Modi have denied the controversial proposition is on the table.

Kejriwal, however, said this didn’t mean it won’t come into play. “He (Amit Shah) himself stated earlier that all three are connected and we must understand the chronology,” the CM added.

Several other MLAs, including Raghav Chadha and Jarnail Singh, also stated that their family members didn’t have birth certificates.

“My mother has her birth certificate, but my father doesn’t have his. So, this means even I will be sent to the Assam detention centre,” said Chadha, who represents Rajinder Nagar and made his debut speech in the assembly Friday.

Similarly, Tilak Nagar MLA Singh said only his children had birth certificates. “So, my own family is at the receiving end of this ill-thought proposition,” Singh added.

Okhla MLA Amantullah Khan accused the BJP of making everything a Hindu-Muslim issue, and failing to provide solutions for problems such as unemployment.

Rajendra Pal Gautam, Delhi minister for women and child development, said several people from the Scheduled Castes had claimed they didn’t have the required documents for NRC.


Also read: CAA-NRC-NPR controversy throws up new challenge for Census 2021 — collecting credible data


‘Undocumented births happen even today’ 

Kalkaji MLA Atishi said the central government was attempting to carry out NPR through a backdoor — the 2021 Census.

“The Union government claims that NPR is being carried out under the Census framework. Census is carried out under the law enacted in 1948. Census data is not to be revealed in the public domain. Census law does not have any reference to NPR at all. NPR comes under the Citizenship Act 1955, amended in 2003,” she told the assembly.

Noting that around 80-90 per cent people in the country didn’t have the necessary documents to establish their identity, she pointed out that a lot of childbirths took place outside hospitals even today.

“We want NPR to be stalled not just in Delhi, but across the country,” she said.

“Hindus are being told that they do not need to worry. But actually, Hindus will be the worst sufferers,” Chadha added.

However, the BJP targeted the ruling AAP and questioned why it used the first Vidhan Sabha session after the election to move against the NPR and NRC, and didn’t do anything about it before.

The AAP has on several occasions stated it is against the NRC, but this is the first time it has moved a resolution on the matter.


Also Read: Why India should shelve NPR, the National Population Register


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Arabinda Kejriwal was wrong in his speech about the N R C and detention camp of Assam as NRC upgrading process had been carried out under the instructions and supervision of the Supreme Court. No person has yet been sent to the detention camp for his name found any place in the latest upgraded N R C in Assam. Instead the government is providing them with proper legal aid and facilities to enabling them to establish their citizenship if their names have been unjustly delected form the list of Indian citizen in NR C.Therefore, Delhi C M lied in the Delhi assembly. I, therefore, strongly condemn him.

  2. We want every thing even if we are ‘doubtful citizens’. We do not consider, it is our duty to dispel the doubts of the state. Wonder if IIT has been teaching this?

  3. Would be better if the Parliament passes a law that ensures that an NRC cannot be carried out without express SC permission , and that too in limited areas of the country for the specific purpose of detecting infiltration into the country. The law also must indicate the Govt’s follow up actions post NRC in respect of those who are disqualified.

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