“There is no link between the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), I am clearly stating this today,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah told news agency ANI on December 24. “There is no need to debate this [pan-India NRC] as there is no discussion on it right now, PM Modi was right, there is no discussion on it yet either in the Cabinet or Parliament,” he said in an interview to the news agency.
Mr. Shah’s comments come two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declaration in New Delhi on December 22 that there had been no discussion, no talk on an NRC for India since his government had taken power in 2014. Also, the remarks come on a day the Union Cabinet cleared allocation for nationwide NPR and Census of India 2021 .
On AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi's criticism of the Citizenship Amendment Act, Mr. Shah said, “If we say that the sun rises from the east then Owaisi ji will say no it rises from the west. He always opposes our stand. Still I again assure him that the CAA has nothing to do with the NRC.”
Responding the Kerala and West Bengal Chief Ministers saying no to updating the NPR, Mr. Shah said, “I humbly appeal to both Chief Ministers again, that don't take such a step and please review your decisions, don’t keep the poor out of development programmes just for your politics.”
The NPR was started by the UPA government and the NDA government was carrying it forward as it was a “good exercise”, the news agency quoted the Union Home Minister as saying. “NPR is register of population, NRC is register of citizens. There is no link between the two and the two have different processes,” he said.
According to him, the names of people living in the country are in NPR, based on which programmes are made. With West Bengal and Kerala having decided to put a stop to the NPR exercise, he said there should not be politics over this as it is aimed at helping citizens and for improving the planning of welfare schemes. “I will talk and appeal to them that no politics should be done on this,” he told ANI.
“NPR will not affect anyone’s nationality. Even if somebody’s name is missing from NPR, then too his citizenship will not be threatened,” Mr. Shah said in the interview.
Noting that there was no connection between detention centre and NRC or Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), he said misinformation was spread on the issue. Mr. Shah said no detention centre had been created since the Modi government came to power. Detention centre is there for years and is for illegal immigrants.
Responding to a query by ANI Editor Smita Prakash, he said the government has given six months for people who have been excluded from Assam’s NRC to approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals.
“We have formed several tribunals for this and nobody has been kept in detention centres; 19 lakh people who have been excluded from the list are staying at their home only,” said Mr. Shah. He said there is only one detention centre which has been in existence for years and probably there is no other such centre.