Mamata Banerjee, Pinarayi Vijayan to Skip Meeting on NPR Called by Centre on January 17: Reports
Mamata Banerjee, Pinarayi Vijayan | File Image | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, January 15: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan would be skipping the meeting on National Population Register (NPR) updation called by the Centre on January 17. According to reports, both the leaders have conveyed to the central government their stark objection to the updation of NPR in view of concerns raised over the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) exercise. NPR 2020: In a First, Enumerators May Ask Residents For Mother Tongue Details.

Mamata's Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal has announced that it would neither implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) nor update the NPR -- which is considered as the precursor to the NRC. Although NPR was conducted for the first time in 2010 - under Congress-led UPA rule at the Centre - it has raised apprehensions this time due to the revised questionnaire.

Mamata Banerjee to Skip NPR Meet

The Narendra Modi government has made changes to the NPR form, with questions on birth date and place of parents, along with documents showing the same, also being added. While Home Minister Amit Shah has assured that the NPR is not linked to the NRC, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad ruffled feathers by stating that information extracted through NPR "may or may not be" used for the NRC exercise.

The Congress, under whose rule at the Centre the NPR was first conducted, has demanded the BJP government to use the same format of form which was used in 2010. The changes made in NPR form hints that the exercise is a veiled format of NRC, alleged senior party leader and former Union Minister Ajay Maken.

"The BJP-led government has a larger and more sinister agenda and that is why the NPR approved by them yesterday is very dangerous and different in terms of the TEXT as well as the CONTEXT of NPR 2010. If the BJP's motives are bonafide, let the Government unconditionally state that they support the NPR form and design of 2010 and have no intention of linking it to the controversial NRC," he had tweeted last month.

The Left Front government in Kerala, which has issued an assembly resolution against the CAA, also announced that it would not be updating the NPR. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has alleged that NPR process is linked to to the NRC, and if implemented, it may lead to adverse impact on minorities. Kerala also became the first state on Tuesday to move the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutional validity of CAA.

The CAA was passed in Parliament in December by the Modi government. A gazette notification, bringing the law into effect was issued last week. While the Centre has maintained that the CAA is aimed at granting citizenship to non-Muslim refugees and not "snatching away" from Indian Muslims, critics allege a "sinister ploy" in view of the proposed nationwide implementation of the NRC.

"When NRC would be conducted, the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Parsis would be granted citizenship even if their name is not included, but those Muslims who would be excluded will have to prove their citizenship before the Foreigners' Tribunal," said Hyderabad lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi.