New Delhi: In an open letter to the Citizens of India, over 100 former bureaucrats wrote that India does not need Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) and National Population Register (NPR). They said that all three issues are linked.
Anita Agnihotri, IAS, former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI, Salahuddin Ahmad, IAS is a former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan, N. Bala Baskar, IAS is the former Principal Adviser (Finance), Ministry of External Affairs, GoI are among the retired civil servants who wrote an open letter to Indians, say country doesn’t need CAA, NRC or NPR.
Link between NPR, NRIC
Explaining the link between NPR and NRIC, the bureaucrats wrote, “The NPR has nothing to do with the Census of India, which is conducted every ten years and is next due in 2021. While the Census collects information about all residents of India without listing their names, the NPR is a list of names of all those who have lived in India for over six months, regardless of their nationality. A Population Register will contain the list of persons usually residing within a specified local area (village/town/ward/demarcated area). The NRIC will effectively be a subset of the Population Registers for the entire country. The 2003 Rules provide for verification of the details in the Population Register by the Local Registrar (normally a taluka or town functionary) who will separate out cases of doubtful citizenship and conduct further enquiries. After carrying out enquiries in respect of residents whose citizenship status is suspect, the Local Registrar will prepare a draft Local Register of Indian Citizens, which would exclude those not able to establish, through documentary proof, their claim to be citizens of India”.
Questioning the need to conduct NRIC, they wrote, “We fail to understand the need for a nationwide identification of “illegal migrants”, which is what the NRIC in effect amounts to, when census statistics over the past seven decades do not show any major demographic shifts, except in certain pockets in some areas of North-Eastern and Eastern India adjoining our neighbouring countries”.
Provisions of CAA
They added, “The provisions of the CAA, coupled with rather aggressive statements over the past few years from the highest levels of this government, rightly cause deep unease in India’s Muslim community”.
Terming NPR and NRIC wasteful exercise, they said that the expenditure which will incur in the fruitless process can be used welfare of the public.
They demand the government to take the following steps as early as possible
- Repeal Sections 14A and 18 (2) (ia) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, pertaining to the issue of national identity cards and its procedures and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 in its entirety.
- Withdraw the Foreigners (Tribunals) Amendment Order, 2019 and withdraw all instructions for construction of detention camps.
- Repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.
The list of 106 signatories are given here.