The AIADMK said on Friday that it has written to the Centre asking for certain details, expected to be asked during the enumeration for the controversial National Population Registry (NPR), to be avoided. A joint statement issued by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam sought to assure minorities, including Muslims, that the AIADMK government would work to gain their confidence.
However, in December last year, weeks after the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) sparked protests across the country, Chief Minister Palaniswami had announced that work for the NPR in the state would kick off in April 2020.
Pointing out that the NPR became a part of the census in 2010 when the DMK was an ally of the Congress-led government at the Centre, the AIADMK statement said, “The Tamil Nadu government has written a letter to the central government insisting that during the enumeration for 2020, details like mother tongue, place and date of birth of mother/ father/ spouse, Aadhaar/ mobile number/ voter ID/ driving license number, should be avoided.”
தலைமைக் கழக அறிவிப்பு— Edappadi K Palaniswami (@CMOTamilNadu) February 21, 2020
விஷமப் பிரச்சாரங்களை செய்து சுயலாபம் அடைய சதி திட்டம் தீட்டுவோரிடம், சிறுபான்மை மக்கள் விழிப்பாகவும், கவனமாகவும் இருக்க வேண்டுமென அன்போடு கேட்டுக் கொள்கிறோம்.
சிறுபான்மை சமூக மக்களின் நம்பிக்கைக்குரிய அரணாக கழகம் எப்போதும் செயல்படும். #AIADMK pic.twitter.com/PZQyR8YZI8
With multiple declarations by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that a nationwide NRC will follow the implementation of the CAA, protesters and Opposition leaders had sounded the alarm on the NPR process. The updation of the NPR, work for which is already underway in the country, has added new questions, similar to citizenship requirements, according to a Scroll investigation.
Despite this, however, the AIADMK said, “Apart from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was carried out recently in Assam according to the Supreme Court's direction, it is not meant for the whole nation. The Centre has already clarified that (the NRC) is not against minority communities, particularly Muslims. Apart from Assam, the central government has not released guidelines for any other states.”
AIADMK's statement added, “Indian integrity must be protected; full cooperation must be given to plans that are carried out as per Supreme Court directions; the AIADMK functions on the principle that close ties must be maintained with neighbouring countries and the Centre in order to fulfill all plans for Tamil Nadu.”
Meanwhile, protests continue across Tamil Nadu against the CAA, NRC and NPR.
Appealing for people to maintain communal harmony, the AIADMK leaders wrote, “No injustice will be meted out to any minority brother and sister in Tamil Nadu. The government will not allow any activity against minorities. AIADMK will be a true friend for the Muslim community forever.”
The statement also comes in light of continuous protests underway in Chennai’s Washermenpet area by several Muslim groups and women who are engaged in a sit-in, demanding that the state Assembly pass a resolution against the CAA.
“All, especially the Muslim brothers and sisters, should understand that anti-social elements and some political parties which will carry out any heinous activity to come to power are trying to scuttle law and order,” AIADMK wrote.
Training their guns on the DMK, they said “It is condemnable that unable to stomach the AIADMK government's growing public support, DMK is trying to instigate and spread false propaganda to create confusion among Muslims.”
“The minorities should be alert and be careful to those trying to conspire mischievous campaigns for their own selfish interests and maintain calm,” they said.
(With PTI inputs)