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NPR can go ahead, says Uddhav Thackeray

Uddhav Thackeray

Uddhav Thackeray  

He, however, says the NRC will not be allowed.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday that he would not block the National Population Register (NPR) in Maharashtra. 

He said he would “personally check the columns” in NPR forms. “The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are different and the NPR is different. No one has to worry if the CAA is implemented. The NRC is not there, and will not be implemented in the State,” he wrote on Twitter. 

He said he would not allow the NRC to be implemented in the State. “If the NRC is implemented, it will affect not only Hindus or Muslims but also Adivasis. The NPR is a census, and I don’t think anyone will be affected as it happens every 10 years,” he said. 

Mr. Thackeray said the Centre had handed over the probe into the Elgaar Parishad case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), but the State government would never permit the investigation into the Bhima-Koregaon clashes to be handed over to the Centre.

Also read | Understanding Bhima Koregaon

Bhima Koregaon probe

On the second day of his Konkan tour, he said the Elgaar Parishad case and the Bhima Koregaon clashes (of January 1, 2018) were two separate issues. “The Elgaar Parishad case and the Bhima Koregaon clashes are two separate matters. The Ambedkarite fraternity is concerned with the Bhima Koregaon riots... I have not handed over the investigation into the clashes to the Centre and nor would I do so in the future,” he said.

Mr. Thackeray said the atrocities on Dalits during the riots were “unfortunate” and he would never allow any further injustice to the community. “I reiterate that the violence at Bhima Koregaon in 2018 is distinct from the Elgaar Parishad case investigation. The Centre has taken over the latter from the State government and not the former. Let there be no misunderstanding.”

His remarks came a day after the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) called for a special investigation team to probe the Elgaar Parishad case.

 Mr. Pawar recently expressed displeasure with Mr. Thackeray’s decision to transfer the Elgaar case to the NIA. The Elgaar Parishad probe has caused fault-lines within the tripartite MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government, with the NCP and the Congress gunning for the constitution of a SIT while Mr. Thackeray and the Sena not too keen on probing the issue further.

The Republican Yuva Morcha, a Pune-based Ambedkarite outfit, said that if the Chief Minister was truly concerned about Dalits, he must immediately constitute an SIT to probe afresh the Bhima-Koregaon riots. 

Mr. Thackeray clarified on the Shiv Sena’s stance on the Ratnagiri Refinery Petrochemical Limited project. Answering a question on an advertisement for the project placed in the Konkan edition of the party’s mouthpiece Saamna, he said, “I take all decisions regarding the Shiv Sena, and the stance that is to be adopted by the party on any issue is decided by me. No entity that gives any advertisement in the Saamna ever decides the Sena’s stance.”

Ambedkarite outfit seeks SIT probe

Reacting to Mr. Thackeray’s statements, the Republican Yuva Morcha (RYM), a Pune-based Ambedkarite outfit, said that if the Chief Minister was truly concerned about no further injustice to the Dalit community, then it must immediately constitute a separate SIT to probe afresh the Bhima-Koregaon riots as well.

Also read | Dubious decision: On NIA takeover of Bhima Koregaon case

“Chief Minister Thackeray’s consent to transfer of the Elgaar Parishad case over to the NIA, and thereby to the Centre, has hurt secular outfits as well as disappointed the Sena’s alliance partners, the NCP and the Congress. If he indeed is concerned about providing speedy justice for the Ambedkarite community regarding the Bhima-Koregaon clashes, then he must form a SIT to probe the riots anew and fast-track the case given that the Koregaon Bhima judicial commission [set up to probe the riots] has proved itself utterly ineffective,” said RYM president Rahul Dambale.

Mr. Dambale said that he had already written to Mr. Thackeray regarding this earlier this year and urged the Chief Minister to direct the Pune Rural police to file a charge sheet in the Bhima Koregaon case and set up a trial court to probe the role of radical Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, alleged to be the chief orchestrators of the clashes.

Refinery project

Speaking on other issues, Mr. Thackeray further clarified the Sena’s stance on the Ratnagiri Refinery Petrochemical Limited project, known as the ‘Nanar refinery’ project.

The Chief Minister was responding to questions regarding a recent advertisement for the project in the Konkan edition of Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna. The advertisement has raised eyebrows and triggered talk of the scuppered project being revived despite Mr. Thackeray and his party’s vehement opposition to it in the past.

“I take all decisions regarding the Shiv Sena and the stance that is to be adopted by the party on any issue is decided by me. No entity that gives any advertisement in the Saamna ever decides the Sena’s stance,” Mr. Thackeray said, adding that the Nanar issue was closed as far as he was concerned and that it was not even worth commenting on.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:56:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/npr-can-go-ahead-says-uddhav-thackeray/article30850250.ece

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