Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday dismissed the opposition accusations about the government pushing NRC and said there have been no discussions regarding the National Register of Citizens (NRC) either in the Cabinet or in the Parliament. In talks with ANI, Amit Shah also accused sections of the opposition of trying to stoke fear on the National Population Register (NPR) as people had understood the purpose of government bringing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
"There is no need to debate this (pan-India NRC) as there is no discussion on it right now. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right. There is no discussion on it yet either in the Cabinet or Parliament," Shah said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Sunday accused the opposition parties of spreading lies about the Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC. He said that the BJP-led government had not brought NRC and it was made when Congress was in power.
Shah also said that there was no link between CAA and NPR and notification for National Population Register had been made when the file of the citizenship amendment Act had not started.
"There is no provision in CAA to take away the citizenship of any person and it was for granting citizenship. Minorities, including Muslims, should not fear. The notification of NPR was made in July. At that time CAA had not come. The file of the bill had even not started. There is now no fear in the minds of people about it, hence some people now want to create scare of NPR," he said.
Shah said almost all states have notified NPR.
Meanwhile, AIMIM Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday said the National Population Register (NPR) is the first step towards the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
"They are doing NPR according to the Citizenship Act, 1955, then is it not connected to NRC? Why is the Home Minister misleading the country? He took my name in Parliament and said 'Owaisi ji NRC will be implemented across the country'. Amit Shah Sahab, as long as the sun keeps rising from the east, we will keep telling the truth. NPR is the first step towards NRC. When NPR will be done in April 2020, officials will ask for documents... The final list will be NRC," Owaisi said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that NPR had nothing to do with NRC.
Attacking Owaisi, the Home Minister had said: "I am not surprised by the stand taken by Owaisi ji. If we say the sun rises from the east, then Owaisi sahab would say it rises from the west. But I want to assure Owaisi ji too that the NPR is very different from the NRC and it has nothing to do with it."
Shah's remarks came after the Cabinet on Tuesday approved the expenditure of Rs 8,754.23 crore for the Census of India 2021 and Rs 3,941.35 crore for NPR.
Owaisi further asserted that the Home Ministry had said that the NPR was the first step towards the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) in its annual report 2018-19.
"I agree that Amit Shah is more educated than me. He should read chapter 15 of the annual report of 2018-19 of his ministry. In point number 4, he himself is saying that NPR is the first step towards the creation of NRIC under the provisions of aforesaid statues...," said Owaisi.
"On MHA website, the ministry wrote on NPR that India is in the process of setting up NPR. This is the first step towards the creation of NRC. November 26, 2014, when Kiren Rijiju was minister, in a reply, he said NPR is the register of all usual residents which includes citizens and non-citizens as well. In another reply, he said NPR is the first step towards the creation of NRIC," he said.
On people losing their lives during protests against the amended Citizenship Act, the AIMIM leader said: "Who killed 18 people in Uttar Pradesh? Should there not be an independent inquiry into this? There should be an inquiry. 5,400 people are in jail in Uttar Pradesh. The Prime Minister should speak on it. We expect him to order an independent inquiry."
"I am only speaking on the basis of news reports. Has this also become a crime now? They should shoot me if speaking truth has become a crime," Owaisi said when asked about allegations of inciting violence.
Protests erupted in several parts of the country, including Uttar Pradesh, over the newly-enacted citizenship law, which grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.