A population database will be the start of work for a register of citizens, said Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, rejecting the central government’s statements.
Owaisi, president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, spoke about the National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC)—two exercises which have sparked attracted criticism over alleged religious profiling.
"Home Minister Amit Shah said there is no difference between NPR and NRC. I am telling you that NPR and NRC are two sides of a coin. The rules of NPR and NRC are the same. These rules have been made as per the Citizenship Act, 1955 in which NPR and NRC are there. If NPR is done in this country, NRC would also be done," said Owaisi in Nizamabad on Friday night during a protest meeting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
His claim comes a day after Union Minister G Kishan Reddy had clarified that there was no link between the two.
Owaisi accused BJP leaders of spreading 'false propaganda' on television channels on the matter. Referring to some BJP leaders' reported comments that NPR exercise was conducted in 2010 as well by the then UPA government, he claimed that the difference between NPR of 2010 and 2020 was that questions would be asked on the birth place and date of birth of parents.
If the government's intention was clear, it would have conducted NPR and NRC first and then brought Citizenship Amendment Act, he said.
"Why did Modi bring Citizen Amendment Act? He brought it because now NPR will be done," he said at the meeting attended by ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi legislators, representatives of Left parties and others.
The Congress party did not attend the event. Owaisi along with representatives of United Muslim Action Committee met the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on December 25 and requested him to stay the work on updation of National Population Register (NPR) in Telangana on the lines of Kerala.
Owaisi also claimed that Rao was sympathetic towards their demand and said there is a necessity that all like- minded parties should come together on the issue.