Senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Saturday dared West Bengal and Kerala Chief Ministers, Mamata Banerjee and P Vijayan respectively not to implement Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Population Registers if they can.
Sushil Modi, who is also the Bihar deputy chief minister, asserted that there is no question of discussing the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC) as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that the government had never discussed it.
“NPR and NRC are two different things,” he told newsmen here and blamed the Congress and RJD for the confusion on them and CAA.
“No state including West Bengal, Kerala, Rajasthan can refuse to implement the CAA or NPR as the Centre has the power to bring legislation over citizenship. Preparing NPR is a statutory provision which no state can refuse to implement,” Modi said.
“No chief ministers, even if he/she is opposed to CAA and NPR, can refuse to implement them. Neither West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee nor Kerala CM P Vijayan can say that they won’t implement NPR in their states. They can say anything for public consumption. But they can’t say no to CAA and NPR… A census director in each state has already been appointed, including in West Bengal,” he added.
The process of preparing NPR began in 2010 during the UPA regime which was completed between April 1 to September 30 that year, he said.
The Centre is just “updating” the NPR 2010 in 2020 just before the 2021 census.
The NPR process in 2020 will be carried out between April 1 to September 30 in the country. In Bihar it will be done between May 15 and May 28, 2020, Sushil Modi said.
Administrative and punitive action will be taken against officials if they refuse to carry out NPR, he added.
At the beginning of the press meet, Sushil Modi played an audio-video clip of erstwhile union home minister P Chidambaram speaking in favour of NPR whose purpose is to issue resident cards which eventually will lead to citizenship cards.
He wondered why Congress and RJD had participated in violent protests on CAA when there is not a single migrant in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
The deputy chief minister expressed satisfaction that there were no incidents of major violence as people, especially Muslims understood that the CAA is not meant to take away anyone’s citizenship.
Asked whether respondents will have to disclose the date and place of birth of their parents in the NPR, Sushil Modi said there is no mandatory provision for it.
He also stressed that no documents like birth certificate or land documents will be sought from the respondents.
Replying to a query, Sushil Modi favoured adding a caste column in the Census 2021 and said that he would request the Centre for it as the state legislature has passed a unanimous resolution in this regard.
In reply to a query on Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that NRC will be implemented across the country by 2024, he said that “There is no importance of anyone’s statement once the PM has the said that government has never discussed it.”