The ruling AIADMK, which is facing criticism for being a supporter of the Centre on the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), on Friday said the State government had written to the Centre to avoid gathering certain details from the residents during the NPR exercise.
The details pertained to the residents’ mother tongue and numbers of Aadhaar, mobile, voter identity card and driving licence besides the dates and places of birth of their parents and spouses, according to Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who are co-coordinator and coordinator of the party respectively.
Their observation marked a subtle change in the government’s position as Revenue Minister told the Assembly on Thursday that clarifications had been sought from the Union government on the NPR questionnaire. The clarifications were in response to concerns expressed in certain quarters that such details might be used against minorities, especially Muslims.
In a statement, they said that it was only in 2010 when the DMK was part of the Congress-led coalition government at the Centre that the NPR was made a component of the Census under the rules of the Citizenship Act which were formulated in 2003. The rules had provided for each citizen getting a national identity card too. Under the NPR, those residing in the country for six months or more would have to furnish details of their families without documentary proof.
Giving an account of various ongoing welfare measures and plans of the AIADMK government for the benefit of Muslims, the two leaders sought cooperation of the community to demolish, what they called, attempts by certain forces to break “close relationship and understanding” between the party and the Muslims. They called upon the community to understand that anti-social elements and some Opposition parties, which were desperate to capture power, were indulging “brazenly” and “without conscience” in activities to disrupt law and order. They condemned bid by the DMK, which could not “stomach the growing popularity” of the State government, to cause confusion among the Muslims through “false propaganda.”
Emphasising that their party would “always remain a friend” of the Muslims, Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam said “no injustice would be committed against members of any minority community. The Kazhagam (AIADMK) government will not allow any action against the minorities.”