It was a tweet aimed at those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA, the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) particularly the Muslim community. On Saturday, the Twitter handle of the Karnataka unit of the BJP tweeted, "Kaagaz Nahi Dikayenge Hum!!! Keep the documents safe, you will need to show them again during NPR exercise.” The tweet was accompanied by a video of a line of Muslim women holding out their voter ID cards.
Widespread protests against CAA, NPR and NRC in the country have all called for a civil disobedience movement. Protesters across the country shouted the slogan “Hum kaagaz nahi dikayenge” (we will not show documents) marking the call for civil disobedience when officials coming knocking on doors during the NPR exercise that is slated for April to September.
Taking a dig at the slogan, the Karnataka BJP said that people would have to show ID proof during NPR exercise.
The Karnataka BJP’s tweet contradicts the Narendra Modi-led Union government’s stated position on the issue. In a series of tweets on January 1, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had stated, “no individual will be required to submit any document to any authority or enumerator visiting his/her household for NPR survey. Information provided by the individual would be accepted and recorded accordingly.” The clarification came in the wake of a story by The Hindu that the trial NPR form seeking the “place of birth of father and mother” had received the Centre’s nod for the nationwide rollout.
Following story has appeared in @the_hindu.— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) January 1, 2020
The line taken by the story is incorrect, without taking into account the factual position for conducting NPR.
Following is an explanatory thread on the same:https://t.co/jYh5VTReid
It also comes over a month after Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated that NPR and the proposed nationwide NRC have no link. On December 24, amid large-scale protests in the country, Amit Shah had said that the NRC and NPR are not linked and that people of the country did not have to show identity documents for the NPR exercise.
“The NRC and NPR are not at all linked. They are two different things. Data collected under NPR cannot be used for NRC… Every person living in the country has the option of sending details of the documents on the app during NPR exercise but there is no need to furnish supporting documents,” Amit Shah had said in an interview.
Soon after the Karnataka BJP tweet on Saturday, several people called out the party and its position on the issue.
“CM BS Yediyurappa, id the Karnataka BJP’s official handle admitting that Indian Muslims will be targeted through the NPR? PM Narendra Modi says that Indian Muslims are not the target and anyone claiming that is lying. Is Karnataka BJP spreading lies and fear?” questioned Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder of Political Shakti, a collective pushing for representation of women in politics.
CM @BSYBJP Is the @BJP4Karnataka official handle admitting that Indian Muslims will be targeted through the NPR? PM @narendramodi says that Indian Muslims are not the target and anyone claiming that is lying. Is @BJP4Karnataka spreading lies and fear? https://t.co/VdDN2ZdArI— Tara (@tarauk) February 8, 2020
“Also, the most contradictory to their own party president's repeated promise that NPR won't ask for documents. Well we now know what they are thinking,” tweeted Rohini Mohan, a journalist, who has covered the issue of NRC widely.
The BJP has made several controversial statements regarding NRC over the last few weeks.
On January 31, the Karnataka BJP tweeted a picture of Sharjeel Imam, a JNU student who was arrested on charges of sedition, alongside a picture of the youth who shot a protester outside Jamia Milia Islamia. The BJP had labelled it “action” and “reaction”. The tweet was later deleted. The BJP, however, put up another tweet with the same images, but revised the caption to read ‘action by govt’ and ‘reaction by anti-nationals’.