Panic-inducing messages suggesting that the process of collecting information for the National Population Register (NPR) has begun in parts of Bengaluru had gone viral.

Delve Fake News Friday, January 10, 2020 - 13:20

A WhatsApp message widely-circulated over the past few days had suggested that a group of people in Bengaluru's Vasanth Nagar clashed with officials who were collecting information for the NPR (National Population Register). 

The viral WhatsApp message read, "Today, they tried to introduce NCR and CAA in Vasanthnagar, Bangalore. All the people from every community reacted like this in a befitting manner. This should go Viral, & It Should Continue In the Same Manner...eveywhere in india. If they Come & ask the details with regards to  NRC, NPR, & CAA... Not even a single Person should respond to them... Reject Bloody this Duo's Decision, They are not Our Nation Builders"

TNM reached out to police officials to verify this message, who stated that no such incident was reported in the area. An official from the Directorate of Census Operations, Karnataka, further confirmed that the process of collecting information for the NPR has not begun in Bengaluru. The directorate is under the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Union Government and is responsible for the updation of the NPR. 

A video, said to be from Vasanth Nagar in Bengaluru, was also doing the rounds on social media. It was claimed that the video showed local residents arguing with officials who were collecting details for updating the NPR.

However, the video is not from Vasanth Nagar, but from Chittawadigi in Hosapete in Ballari district. On January 7, BJP workers and local residents got into an argument when Vijayanagara's BJP MLA Anand Singh distributed pamphlets supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Visuals from the distribution showed that many residents refused to accept the pamphlets from the MLA. 

Officials told TNM that the process to update the NPR has not started in Bengaluru yet. The NPR will be updated along with the first phase of Census, which involves house listings. Opposition leaders have claimed that the government was trying to bring in NPR to, in turn, bring in NRC.  

The NPR will include demographic details of a resident —  a person who has been residing in a local area for the last six months or more, or a person who intends to reside in the area for the next six months or more. It lists the date and place of birth, permanent address, nationality (as declared), education and occupation, among other particulars of an individual. Census, on the other hand, is a broader database, which also includes more details like, inter alia, economic activity, religion, housing and household amenities.

The NPR updation will be part of the census process which will begin in Bengaluru in April 2020. The first phase, including NPR updation, will be held between April 15, 2020 and May 29, 2020 for a period of 45 days. The second phase will be held from February 9 to 28, 2021. 

This is not the first time messages suggesting the implementation of an NPR-like exercise have circulated. Earlier in December, another message suggested that the process of collecting information for the NRC had begun in Tumakuru. "NRC started in Tumkur, when they come to your house *Please don't Submit any of your documents* instead, raise your voice and call all your neighbors first then call the nearest police station and handover them to police do share to everyone now . *We reject CAA, NRC, NPR*," read the message. 

A series of short video clips showing an official asking details of residents was shared along with the message. The official in the video was identified as Rangaswamy, an authorised enumerator with the Common Services Centre (CSC) e-governance scheme which is under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. The official was collecting details for an economic survey in GCR Colony in Tumakuru as part of the 7th National Economic Census which began in December 2019. The residents later took the official to the Tumakuru City police station to verify his identity.