NPR was good when UPA brought it, became bad when we repeat it: Prakash Javadekar

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2020

Amid opposition by some states, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday hit out at parties questioning the National Population Register saying it was welcomed in the past when the then Congress-led government introduced it but is being dubbed as “bad” when the NDA regime is repeating it.

He also said the provision of “naturalisation” to grant Indian citizenship to foreign nationals in the principal Citizenship Act of 1955 still remains and Pakistani singer Adnan Sami became an Indian citizen due to that.

“That provision (of naturalisation) still remains. The Citizenship Amendment Act takes note of persecuted minorities in three countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan) who came to India seeking justice ... the amendment is about giving citizenship and not taking it,” Javadekar said at a briefing of the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet. Kerala and West Bengal are some of the states who have opposed the NPR exercise.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay the amended citizenship law without hearing the Centre. Responding to a question on the issue, Javadekar said, “Those who are opposed to the Citizenship Amendment Act made have their own views, but the Supreme Court decided not to give it (CAA) any stay,” he said.

‘Questions are optional’

Responding to questions on the NPR, he said giving date of birth or place of birth of parents is optional in the exercise. “If you don’t have it or don’t remember, don’t give it ... many questions are optional,” he said.

Referring to the origin of the NPR, he pointed out that it was introduced by the Congress-led UPA government in 2010. “Then you all welcomed it. They bring it, it is good. When we bring, it is bad. This cannot be the case. This is not fair,” he said.

The minister said the National Register of Citizens is limited to Assam and it was brought by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.“They brought it (NRC) so it is good. We did not bring, so we are bad,” he quipped.

To a question, the senior BJP leader said at one point of time, thousands of Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka were given Indian citizenship.

Responding to a question on “proposed” police action in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, he said no action is on in the area. “No action is being taken in Shaheen Bagh, there is a complaint ... Police went to Jamia (university) there was a complaint, they did not go (enter) the JNU (campus), there is a complaint. This is not done (Aisa toh nahin chalta hai),” he said.

Published on January 22, 2020

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