HRF demands AP & TS governments oppose National Population Register (NPR)

Press Release

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments pass resolutions in their respective Assemblies rejecting the National Population Register (NPR) exercise in its totality and not just limit themselves to reverting to the 2010 version of it. 

The NPR-NRC-CAA combine are inextricably linked legally. The parent law, the provisions of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, under which NPR operates, explicitly envisions the creation of a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). Rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, under which the NPR process has been notified, mentions NRIC in the title. Sub-rule 4 of Rule 3 invokes the NPR process while Sub-rule 5 of Rule 3 clearly states that “The local register of Indian citizens shall contain details of persons after due verification made from the Population Register.”  Therefore, the population register provides the base for preparing a register of Indian citizens and NRC is the legal outcome of the 2003 amendment to the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The NPR amounts to an initialisation of an NRC.

Time and again Union Home Minister Amit Shah has made clear, both in Parliament and outside, that the people would do well to ‘understand the chronology’ of the NPR-NRC-CAA process. In Parliament yesterday (March 12), Amit Shah was lying brazenly when he asserted that the NPR process will not render any person as ‘D’ or ‘Doubtful’ in respect of their citizenship.Sub-rule 4 of Rule 4of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, which invoked NRIC, clearly states: “During the verification process, particulars of such individuals, whose citizenship is doubtful, shall be entered by the Local Registrar with appropriate remark in the Population Register for further enquiry and in case of doubtful Citizenship, the individual or the family shall be informed in a specified proforma immediately after the verification is over.”

HRF believes that the NPR is a survey exercise that collects data for an NRC. In other words, data from the NPR will be used to identify ‘doubtful’ citizens and in turn create an NRC. An NRC which is built on the NPR will allow the executive to pick and choose whose citizenship it wishes to interrogate. It is evident that the danger that this poses will not be limited to the minorities alone but a whole class of disadvantaged people in the country.

HRF demands that the two State governments follow the example of Kerala, reject the NPR and pass resolutions in their Assemblies stating in unambiguous terms that they will not implement it in their States.

VS Krishna                                                                            S Jeevan Kumar

HRF AP&TS Coordination Committee members

13-3-2020

Visakhapatnam

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