- "You can give whatever information you have": Amit Shah on NPR
- He also said no one needs to fear NPR
- Several states have refused to carry out the NPR exercise
In a significant clarification in parliament, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday that no document would have to be submitted for the NPR or National Population Register and no one would be declared "D" (doubtful) if they failed to produce such papers.
Replying to a discussion on the Delhi violence in Rajya Sabha, Amit Shah said: "No document needs to be submitted. You can give whatever information you have and leave the other questions blank."
As Congress leaders like Kapil Sibal persisted, questioning whether "D" would be removed, the Home Minister replied: "Let me say, now that we are sitting face to face... support us now. I say it clearly: First, no document will be asked for NPR. Second, any information that you don't have, you don't have to share that. And third, I say it on the floor of Rajya Sabha as Home Minister, nobody will be marked D."
He also asked the Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, to visit him along with other opposition leaders to clarify doubts on NPR.
The opposition Congress was skeptical about the clarification. "It is not correct of the Home minister saying they will not be asking for these documents, what is the use of this exercise then," questioned the party's Kapil Sibal.
Several states have refused to carry out the NPR exercise, seen by many to be a precursor to the controversial National Register for Citizens (NRC), which has provoked protests nationwide along with the citizenship law CAA. These include Bihar, ruled by BJP ally Nitish Kumar, and Tamil Nadu, where another ally, AIADMK, is in power.
Those objecting to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC and NPR believe that a combination of the three will be used to leave thousands of Muslims stateless. The CAA provides for Indian citizenship for non-Muslims who fled neighboring Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh due to religious persecution and entered India before 2015.
In Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress member Derek O Brien described CAA-NRC-NPR as a "toxic combination".
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.
There was also fear over reports that if people did not give answers to the NPR questions, houses would be marked "D".
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 the parents' birthplace and date of birth, a person's present and permanent address, mother tongue and nationality.