Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has issued an order staying all activities connected to the updation of the National Population Register (NPR) in the state. The move comes during massive pan India protests against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the newly passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that offers expedited citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
An order issued by the Kerala government stopping all works related to NPR, the reason cited is the â€śapprehension among true general public about the conduct of NPR related activities leads to a National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act.â€ť
The move by Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan comes after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also stayed all works on NPR in the state.
Pinarayiâ€™s move is also possibly a result of internal politics in Kerala, with the Congress-led UDF accusing the Chief Minister of double standards - by opposing the NRC and CAA and continuing work on NPR in the state.
The National Population Register is a register of residents in the country which contains demography and biometric details. The Central government has decided to prepare the National Population Register between April 2020 and September 2020. The exercise will be conducted at the local, sub district, district, state and national levels. According to reports, the data collected during NPR will be used to roll out NRC in the country. In 2010, the National Population Register was first conducted and then updated five years later in 2015.
The NRC in Assam aimed at identifying illegal immigrants who entered the country after March 24, 1971. It not only requires one to prove their citizenship, but also their relationship with their ancestors, who need to be Indians. The exercise left out over 19 lakh people in the final register.
The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act aims to provide expedited citizenship to persecuted minorities of 6 religions - excluding Islam - from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Protests have erupted across the country against the law which is widely viewed as discriminatory and anti-Muslim. Meanwhile, in the north east, protesters decry that the move will lead to an increase in migrant population and dilute their ethnic identities.