The editorial “Who’s afraid of NPR?” (December 31) rightly sums up the possible misgivings and actual pitfalls that might arise from the implementation of the National Population Register (NPR). This is because the present government has again ignored the three “As” which should be followed before implementing a controversial and seemingly unpopular strategy. One, it should make people “aware” about the need for introducing such a strategy. Two, it should use various communication channels and forums to seek public opinion and allay any doubts so that people “accept” the new move. Once creating awareness and getting acceptance are out of the way, it should be followed by the third “A” that is “action” after incorporating the feedback received.
The government’s decision may be well-intended and even necessary, but it will not serve the purpose if it is taken with undue haste. It should learn from its recent experience. The decision to make Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India did not yield the desired results. It created more fear about the government’s intentions and the expected warmth has become a chill. Key leaders were under detention. The Pakistan army has become more active along the border. No one is certain whether people there have accepted the action whole-heartedly. Similarly, the Citizenship Amendment Act, though well intentioned, has been introduced after just two days of Parliamentary debate. This gave the Opposition parties an opportunity to play up the negative emotions of the minority community resulting in violent protests.
Now the government should prepare the right environment before going for NPR and making it citizen-friendly instead of an unnerving experience. I am 84 now and my father died when I was nine. And I do not know his exact date and place of birth.
Y G Chouksey, Pune
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