India's largest body of Islamic scholars, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, on Sunday, urged the Muslim community to reject the exercise of National Population Register (NPR) in the present format.
"We are not against NPR. In India, NPR is being held every decade since 1951. However, if this time around, if it is in a different format, we must reject it," Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Syed Arshad Madani told a gathering at the historic Azad Maidan in Mumbai.
According to him, it exercise will not only pose problems for Muslims but for other communities including Hindus.
He said that the Ulema body is opposed to Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which is now a law, and the proposed National Registrar of Citizens (NRC).
The 79-year-old outspoken Maulana Madani, who does not mince words, said that NPR is more dangerous than CAA and NRC together.
"First of all, the exercise is going to begin and there is no clarity at all, secondly, from what we gather is that the birthplace of parents are going to be sought, thirdly, majority of the population will not be able to produce documents," Madani said.
He pointed out that surveyors, who are mainly school and college teachers would have the authority of writing "doubtful" against any name.
According to him, people declared doubtful will have to fight a long legal battle to prove that he or she is an Indian. "Such doubtful people will not be allowed to vote, their children will not be able to get educated in government schools, they will not be able to get jobs or purchase property," he said adding that NPR is actually a part of NRC.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind met in Mumbai over the last four days and held extensive deliberations on CAA, NRC and NPR.
The house listing phase of the NPR exercise will be carried out from 1 April to 30 September, 2020 and the Census report would be out in 2021.
Maulana Madani accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of trying to sow seeds of hatred through what he described as a larger design of its communal agenda.
Elaborating further, he said that CAA was totally against the spirit of India's Constitution but is a law now. On the other hand, on NRC there are problem areas. "The NPR, it is not what we have seen in 1951 and later years, would be dangerous," he said.
When the Constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizen irrespective of his/her religion caste, language, region, the agenda behind the CAA-NRC-NPA is very clear, he said, adding that Jamiat Ulema e Hind does not support any specific political party but is compel to raise this issue as it endangers the unity and integrity of India.
“CAA has become a law and NRC is against the soul of the Constitution. There will be a day when NRC will be imposed and it will be doomsday for Muslims. Take Assam, Hindus that were left out in NRC will be given citizenship under CAA but Muslims will not be entertained. Whatever happened to Muslims in Myanmar, will happen to Muslims of Assam, ” he said.
He said that most of the Opposition parties are opposing the NRC-NPR and it is not without a reason.
He said that the results of Jharkhand and then Delhi shows that the politics of hate would not continue. "There is tension and it worries," he said, pointing out cases of mob lynching. "97 people have lost their lives of which 16 are non-Muslims," he said.