Is the NPR the First Step to the NRC: A Group of ‘Concerned Citizens’ Asserts So

A group of concerned citizens has asked for widespread non-cooperation with the NRC and a continuation of peaceful resistance.

In a latest development to the ongoing Anti-CAA and NRC protests across the country, a group of concerned citizens have come up with a declaration. A group of concerned citizens have formulated and signed a declaration that says that they reject the idea of the National Population Register(NPR) as it is a “gross violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.”

The declaration has been signed by a group of 73 citizens. The declaration has said that the proposed NRC and CAA exercises are “discriminatory, divisive, exclusionary and unconstitutional.” The group also alleged that the NRC and CAA exercises went against the secular, democratic fabric of India by targeting communities on the basis of religion, caste and gender.

The NRC is an exercise attempted at preparing a database of the residents of the country including biometric and demographic data. The Centre has announced that this shall be a self declaration of information such as name, relationship to head of family, father’s name, mother’s nam, spouse’s name, sex, date of birth, marital status, place of birth, nationality, presents address of usual residence, permanent residential address, occupation, educational qualification etc. These details will be collected for the NPR exercise and will be sufficient to register one’s name in the register. The exercise will be conducted in April 2020 and a budget of Rs 4,000 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose.

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The Centre has time and again asserted that the NPR is a regular exercise and is in no way connected to the controversial NRC. However, the concerned citizens have said that the NPR is the first stage of the collection of data to prepare the NRC as per the Citizenship Act 1955 and Citizenship Rule 2003. Many critics of the government’s intentions have pointed this out and warned against it from time to time.

The signatories of the declaration have appealed to the citizens to not cooperate with the government on the NPR exercise and thereby not provide any information to it.

The declaration by the citizens reads, ” We call upon all the state Governments to immediately suspend the NPR process. We also appeal to all the Law and Order enforcing agencies to respect the constitutional rights of the people of India and protests peacefully.”

The statement issued by these concerned citizens also condemned the police violence against those who had been protesting against the contentious CAA across the country, with special focus on Uttar Pradesh.

It read, ” The state has become a laboratory of state repression of peaceful dissent. We condemn the police firing, damage of property, the arrest of innocent people and the unprecedented levying of penates on civilian protestors. ”

The declaration urges protestors across the length and the breadth of the country to continue their protests peacefully and not fall prey to provocations and propaganda machinery.

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