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Call to amend NPR ‘doubtful’ citizen rule

They underlined they would continue their movement against the new citizenship matrix
Protesters during a rally against CAA, NPR and NRC in Calcutta.

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 14.03.20, 09:04 PM

Two umbrella groups against the new citizenship regime on Saturday jointly demanded that the Centre amend the rules to preclude people being marked “doubtful” citizens during the National Population Register update.

At a news conference, We the People of India and the Alliance against CAA-NRC-NPR announced they would withdraw their call to boycott the NPR, scheduled to begin next month, if the amendment was made.


However, they underlined they would continue their movement against the new citizenship matrix, represented by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens, which they find “discriminatory and divisive”.

The demand comes two days after Union home minister Amit Shah said that no one would be marked “doubtful” even if they failed to provide all the information sought for the preparation of the NPR.

We the People of India includes several progressive parties and NGOs such as Swaraj India, Left groups and United Against Hate. The Alliance includes Muslim groups such as the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.

“We welcome the spirit of the home minister’s statement and now seek legalisation and formalisation of the same by way of the Union government amending the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003,” their resolution said.

“Such an amendment may remove any reference to NPR in the above mentioned Rules of 2003. Alternatively, the government may delete Rule 3(5), 4(3), 4(4) which allow NPR to be used for identifying citizens as doubtful and their deletion from the National Register of Indian Citizens.

“The government may also suitably amend Rule 7(2) and 17 to ensure that providing information in NPR is voluntary and that no one would be penalised for failure to provide information. We believe that these amendments would give effect to the home minister’s statement on the floor of the House and set at rest the widespread apprehensions about NPR.

“As soon as the Union government carries out the above mentioned amendments, we would be prepared to withdraw the call for boycotting NPR. The movement against CAA and NRC and the entire discriminatory citizenship regime shall, however, continue in peaceful, non-violent and democratic manner.”

Bureaucrat turned activist Harsh Mander, a signatory to the declaration, said: “Citizens are scared that the government will snatch away their citizenship. Whether their fear is real or imaginary, it does exist and the solution to their fear is the responsibility of the government. They will get rid of their fear only if the rules are amended. Only then can they believe that it cannot happen in future.”

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