Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comment that there was no talk of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is "a pause and not a full stop," ace election strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor tweeted today. He suggested that NRC would be back on track as soon as the government scored a Supreme Court go-ahead on the controversial citizenship law CAA.
"The claim of (there is no talk of NRC) is nothing but a tactical retreat in the face of nationwide protest against #CAA, NRC. It is a pause and not the full stop. Government could wait until Supreme Court judgement on CAA. A favourable court order and the whole process will be back," tweeted Prashant Kishor, vice president of Bihar's ruling Janata Dal United, a BJP ally.
The claim of NRC is nothing but a tactical retreat in the face of nationwide protest against #CAA_NRC. It is a pause and not the full stop.— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) December 26, 2019
Govt could wait till SC judgement on CAA. A favourable court order and the whole process will be back.
Though he doesn't specify, Mr Kishor's comment refers to PM Modi's assertion in a rally in Delhi on Sunday. "I want to tell the 130 crore citizens of India that since my government has come to power, since 2014, there has been no discussion on NRC anywhere. Only after the Supreme Court's order, this exercise was done for Assam," he said, accusing opposition parties including the Congress of spreading "lies" against his government.
That comment contradicted Home Minister Amit Shah's multiple assertions till then that "NRC is coming and it will be carried out in the whole country".
On Tuesday, however, Amit Shah told news agency ANI: "PM Modi was right, there is no discussion on (pan-India NRC) yet either in the Cabinet or Parliament."
The clarification was interpreted as an attempt to calm tempers amid nationwide protests against the CAA and NRC.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act is the first law to make religion a criterion for Indian citizenship. The government says the CAA will help non-Muslims minorities who fled religious persecution in Muslim-dominated Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh get Indian citizenship easily. However, critics say the law discriminates blatantly against Muslims and so, is completely against secular principles enshrined in the constitution of India.
Amit Shah's earlier comments on "first citizenship bill, then NRC" have raised concerns that Muslims will be the most vulnerable to citizenship checks, though the government has repeatedly denied it.
Nearly 60 petitions have been filed against the citizenship law in the Supreme Court, which will take up the subject in January.