- Delhi Assembly today passed a resolution against the NPR and NRC
- "I urge the centre to withdraw NPR and NRC" : Arvind Kejriwal
- Mr Kejriwal challenged Union Ministers to show birth certificates
The Delhi Assembly on Friday passed a resolution against the NPR (national population register) and NRC (national register of citizens), with 61 of 70 MLAs responding in the negative when Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked if they still had their birth certificates.
Mr Kejriwal called this a "big message" and said "the Assembly has passed the resolution to not implement NPR in the national capital". The Chief Minister included himself in the list of people without birth certificates, telling the Assembly that neither he nor his family had the documents.
"Me, my wife, my entire cabinet don't have birth certificates to prove citizenship. Will we be sent to detention centres?" Arvind Kejriwal asked in the Assembly on Friday, after asking MLAs to raise their hands if they had the documents.
Only nine lawmakers raised hands. Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has 62 MLAs in the house, after winning last month's elections. The remaining seats are held by the BJP.
"61 out of 70 members in the Delhi Assembly don't have birth certificates. Will they also be sent to detention centres?" Mr Kejriwal said.
"I urge the centre to withdraw National Population Register and National Register of Citizens," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Mr Kejriwal also challenged Union Ministers to show their certificates.
In its resolution, the Delhi Assembly said the proposed NPR and NRC had created "an atmosphere of fear and panic" over concerns that those who could not prove their citizenship will be sent to the detention centres.
Noting that more than 90 per cent of Indians do not have requisite documents, as listed by the centre, the resolution asked for clarifications over use of NPR data in NRC and what an individual must do if s/he lacks documents.
The Delhi Assembly's resolution comes a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who has led the centre's charge on the NPR and NRC, insisted that no document would have to be shown for the NPR.
"No document needs to be submitted. You can give whatever information you have and leave the other questions blank," Mr Shah said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday while replying to a discussion on last month's violence in Delhi.
Several states have refused to carry out the NPR, an exercise seen by many to be a precursor to the equally controversial NRC. Both exercises, along with the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), have provoked nationwide protests, with critics saying they may be used to target and harass Muslims.
The states that have objected include Bihar and Tamil Nadu, both of which are ruled by BJP allies; Nitish Kumar's JDU is in power in Bihar and the AIADMK rules Tamil Nadu. Others include Mamata Banerjee's Bengal and Left-ruled Kerala, both of which have refused to carry out the NPR.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Shah have both said that as of now, there is no plan to take NRC forward, though the Home Minister had earlier told parliament that it would be done across the country.
The NPR was carried out in 2010 as part of the census; the latest forms have fueled massive anger and concern because of additions like a question on one's parents' place of birth - producing such documents is a tough ask for many.
The usual questions are on type of house, number of family members, source of electricity, whether the family has access to a toilet, the type of toilet, wastewater outlet, availability of bathing facility, availability of kitchen and LPG/PNG connection and main fuel used for cooking.
In the 2020 NPR, there are eight additional data fields that ask for parents' birthplace and date of birth, a person's present and permanent address, mother tongue and nationality.
(With input from ANI and IANS)