Reject the divisive agenda of the National Population Register, JD(U) leader tells Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Urvi Bhatt
January 5, 2020 |

New Delhi: A day after the Bihar government announced it was going to implement the National Population Register, JD(U) general secretary Pavan Varma on Sunday asked party president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to reject the “divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme”, saying it had a “nefarious agenda to divide India and create a great deal of unnecessary social turbulence”.

In an open letter to the Bihar chief minister, Varma expressed surprise at the “unilateral” announcement of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi. Sushil Kumar Modi on Saturday said the process of updating the National Population Register will be carried out in the state from May 15 to May 28 this year. He also said administrative and punitive action will be taken against officials if they refuse to carry out the NPR.

“The process of the National Population Register 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 told reporters. The process of preparing NPR began in 2010 during the UPA regime. The Centre is “updating” the NPR 2010 in 2020 just before the 2021 census, Bihar Deputy chief minister said. “NPR and NRC are two different things,” he added.

In his letter, JD(U) leader Pavan Varma says, “In consonance with your own publicly stated views, and long established secular vision, may I request you now to take a principled stand against the CAA-NPR-NRC scheme, and reject its nefarious agenda to divide India and create a great deal of unnecessary social turbulence. A clear cut public statement by you to this effect would be a major step towards preserving and strengthening the idea of India to which, I know, you yourself are committed. The politics of principle cannot be sacrificed at the altar of short term political gain.”

The JD(U) leader has earlier been openly critical of his party’s decision to support the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament. JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor has also spoken strongly against the CAA and said this, in combination with the NRC, can turn into a “lethal combination in the hands of the government to systematically discriminate and even prosecute people based on religion.”

In his letter, Varma said the CAA-NRC combine is a direct attempt to divide Hindus and Muslims, and to create social instability.

The government has categorically stated, he said, that the NPR is the first step to implementing the NRC and since Kumar has said that Bihar will not have the NRC, it follows that he must say no to the revised NPR as well.

The Narendra Modi government has dismissed the concerns over the NPR as politically motivated, saying it is a routine exercise and adding that it is yet to take a decision on the NRC.

“The central government needs to focus on the real priorities of governance, such as the disastrous state of the economy, the absence of jobs, and agrarian distress, rather than such schemes whose only aim is to destroy the unity and social cohesion of our great country,” Varma said.