Writing letter to to state chief ministers, more than 1,000 women from across India have requested them to de-link the National Population Register (NPR) from Census house. They claimed that it presents a “clear danger to women”.
According to The Week, the letter reads, “Women, irrespective of caste and religious community, will be hugely affected by the NPR-NRIC (National Register of Indian Citizens) citizenship regime being rolled out by the Central government, that puts all our citizenship rights to test, in an arbitrary and frightening manner. The combination of the NPR and NRIC will force each person to prove their citizenship, and disproportionately put at risk the women, the weakest, and the most marginal people of our country”.
The letter adds: “We write to you as Indian women who are opposed to the National Population Register (NPR). Women constitute nearly 50% of India’s population, and this opposition is based on clear evidence from our own lives.”
It must be mentioned here that the updation of the NPR is scheduled to begin from April 1, 2020 along with house listing for the Census of India, 2021.
The letter which has been signed by activists, writers, academics, lawyers, doctors, farmers, professionals, anganwadi workers and women from all walks of life from more than 20 states was released on Tuesday evening and has been sent to chief ministers of all states.
Most women do not have land or property in their names, have lower literacy rates, and leave their natal homes upon marriage with no documents in tow which make them difficult to produce document. Notably, a vast majority of the 19 lakh left out of the NRC in Assam are women.
Calling into question Home Minister Amit Shah’s remark that no one shall be marked “doubtful” during the NPR exercise, the letter states, “Section 14 A of the Citizenship Act, the accompanying 2003 Rules, and official reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs, all provide for using NPR data to compile the National Register of Indian Citizens…The NRIC will be prepared by local registrars scrutinizing information of individuals in the Population Register and marking people as ‘Doubtful Citizens’. While the Home Minister on March 12, 2020 stated in Parliament that no one will be marked “doubtful”, this assurance carries no legal sanctity, until the relevant statutes and rules are formally amended.”
The women signatories urged the state governments to issue executive orders to de-link NPR and census immediately.
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