Population Register Exercise "A Dangerous Game", Says Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee also said that she came to know from the media that sections in the NPR form which seek birth details of parents were not mandatory.

Population Register Exercise 'A Dangerous Game', Says Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee asserted that a resolution would soon be passed in the West Bengal Assembly (File)

Kolkata/Siliguri:

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appealed to her counterparts in the northeast and non-BJP states to study carefully the NPR form, its questions and criteria, before arriving at a decision on updating it.

She also asserted that a resolution would soon be passed in the West Bengal Assembly against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Dubbing the NPR exercise as "a dangerous game", Ms Banerjee said the form, which seeks birth details and residential proof of parents, was nothing but a precursor to NRC implementation.

"I will appeal to all chief ministers, governments including those in BJP-ruled northeast states - Tripura, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal - and the opposition party-ruled states to read the law properly and consider the clauses in the NPR form before arriving at a decision. I request them not to participate in this matter because the condition is very bad," she said.

Ms Banerjee also said that she came to know from the media that sections in the NPR form which seek birth details of parents were not mandatory.

"If the fields are not mandatory, why are they a part of the form? Efforts should be made to remove those questions. If they continue to exist on paper (form), those that do not enter birth details of parents might be automatically excluded. There is an apprehension..." she claimed.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief contended that the West Bengal Assembly would adopt a resolution against the amended Citizenship Act in three to four days.

"We have earlier passed a resolution against NPR. Next, the Assembly will take up a resolution against the citizenship law within three to four days," she insisted.

Earlier this month, the TMC had prevented the passage of an anti-CAA resolution in the Assembly, even as the Congress and the CPI(M) pitched for it.

The Chief Minister reasoned that the House had already adopted a resolution against a pan-India NRC in September last year, which, in turn, denounced according Indian citizenship to people on the basis of religion.

Incidentally, Kerala and Punjab have passed a resolution against the citizenship law.

The chief minister, after inaugurating the Uttarbanga Utsab in Siliguri, later in the day, said she would not be able to provide all details sought in the form.

"Earlier, I had thought that NPR was only a regular exercise for census update. But after looking at the columns, which sought date of birth and address of parents, I realised that I will not be able to provide them that information... I do not have them," she said.

Justifying her decision of not participating in a meeting convened by the Centre on NPR, Ms Banerjee said she was happy to be the only one to skip it.

"Many people, who had spoken on the matter (NPR update), went to participate in the meeting. I am the only one who did not go. At least one person protested. I would request you all to rethink..." she said, reciting Rabindranath Tagore's patriotic song ''Jodi Tor Dak Shune Keu Na Ase Tobe Ekla Cholo Re'' (If no one responds to your call, walk alone).

"They (Centre) have misguided you (participating CMs) by telling that the column to provide your parents' details is not mandatory. If it was so, why don't you pass a resolution to withdraw those fields from the NPR form," she said.

Apparently referring to the attacks on university campuses in several parts of the nation, she said, "What is happening in the country at this juncture in not right. Students are our future."

Ms Banerjee, describing herself as the custodian of common people, iterated that NPR and NRC would not be implemented in West Bengal.

"Nobody will be able to snatch away our rights. This state is ours. Do not think we are there only when elections are around. I am the custodian of common people. I am not going to listen to them (Centre) unless the necessary changes are made in the NPR form," she added.

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