Rajat Sharma

How Congress-led UPA govt had planned a major NPR exercise in 2010

akbIndia TV in its ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ show on Thursday night telecast video of what the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said about National Population Register 2010. In the NPR form, there was clear mention about nationality status and the entire process involved collection of biometric details of all residents in India.

On Thursday, Chidambaram clarified that the information that was being collected for NPR “related to residency, and not citizenship”. But the PIB press release and NPR 2010 form tell a different story. The NPR 2010 instructions were more stringent compared to what Home Minister Amit Shah has planned for NPR 2020. Shah has clarified that no biometric particulars will be collected.

Chidambaram’s video and NPR 2010 form make it amply clear that the Congress-led UPA government had planned a major process for identifying illegal migrants and this was a prelude to preparing National Register of Citizens based on biometric particulars in order to check the background of each and every citizen. The only difference is that nobody at that time doubted the motives of the Congress party, nor did anybody raise questions.

But presently, an atmosphere has been created throughout the country in which people have started doubting the motives of the Modi government. People are now more prone to believe in baseless rumours and to accept half-baked information as gospel truth. Nobody wants to delve deep into facts. Fear has been created in the minds of Muslims that they would have to submit proof of their citizenship and that they would be thrown out of the country if they failed to submit proof.

It is this fear that is forcing people to come out on to the streets to take part in protests and demonstrations. Political parties which had been traditionally considering Muslims as their vote banks are trying to take undue advantage of the situation.

It is not that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not try to remove misgivings and fears in the minds of minorities. Time and again, he has spoken clearly about Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens. Modi has clearly said that Muslims need not worry at all, but fear mongers are having a hey day inciting people to protest against CAA, NRC and now, NPR.

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