Owaisi urges TRS govt to stay NPR in Telangana

Last Updated 25 December 2019, 13:53 IST

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi along with representatives of a body of Muslim organisations in Telangana met Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday and requested him to stay the work on updating of National Population Register (NPR) on the lines of Kerala. Emerging from the meet, Owaisi described it as "positive" and said they informed Rao NPR was the first step toward National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The latter was 'sympathetic' toward their cause and sought two days time to inform the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi's stand, he said. The Hyderabad Lok Sabha member, accompanied by representatives of city-based United Muslim Action Committee in the meeting, said NPR was the first step toward National Register of Citizens (NRC) and there was a necessity for all like-minded parties to come together on the issue. NPR is the first step towards NRC. We have informed the Chief Minister about it.

We urged him to stay implementation of the National Population Register (NPR) on the lines of Kerala government. We gave the order copy of Kerala," he told reporters here. Amid the protests over the NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act, the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala on Friday said it has ordered a stay on all activities in connection with the NPR, scheduled early next year in the state, considering 'apprehensions' of the public that it would lead to NRC.

Kerala is the second state after West Bengal to have ordered a stay on NPR activities in the wake of the protests over CAA and the contentious NRC. The Centre on Tuesday approved nearly Rs 12,700 crore for carrying out the Census 2021 and the NPR and made it clear that NPR has no relation with the NRC.

Owaisi said the Chief Minister told them he would hold talks with like-minded political parties on the NPR issue and if needed organise a public meeting. "It was a positive meeting. The Chief Minister repeatedly stressed that this issue was not concerned with Muslims alone and it concerns the entire country, he said. He claimed KCR, as Rao is popularly known, asked him to invite leaders of all political parties to the MIM's proposed public meeting in Nizamabad on Friday on the issue. We will also invite the Congress, CPM and CPI. TRS will participate. This is an issue to save the country, Owaisi quoted KCR as having said.

The MIM chief said he was hopeful of a positive decision from KCR, who according to him, sough two days time to inform the party's stand on NPR. Showing some documents, the MP said according to the government websites, NPR is the first step towards undertaking the proposed NRC. He also claimed that according to a Right to Information Act (RTI) query, only 29 per cent of the population in Telangana had a birth certificate.

Owaisi had on Friday said when a nationwide NRC was done, every Indian would be in trouble (to prove their nationality). Not even five per cent of the people in India have passports, he had said. Addressing a protest meeting against NPR, NRC and CAA at Mahabubnagar late on Tuesday night, he alleged Prime Minister Modi and Home MinisterAmit Shah were not telling the truth with regard to NRC and detention centres to house suspected illegal immigrants. Referring to Modi's speech in Ramlila ground in Delhi that there was no discussion on NRC, he said the President in his address in Parliament after the NDA government was formed had said NRC would be brought.

"It is the Union Government that prepares the speech of the President. It was read out in parliament. Was it wrong? he asked. Modi himself had said in an interview to an English TV channel that NRC would be conducted, he claimed. Owaisi also said while Prime Minister said no detention centres had been built, a detention centre has come up in Karnataka and a huge such facility was being built in Assam. Indias Prime Minister, we were not expecting this from you, he said. In 2014, the then Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said in reply to a query that NPR is a register of all the usual residents which includes citizens and non- citizen as well.

He replied in parliament, NPR is the first step towards the creation of NRC, the MIM leader said. Owaisi claimed a low-level official would seek additional documents, during NPR work, after writing remarks as doubtful citizen though documents have already been submitted. On the death of 18 people in violence during protests against CAA in Uttar Pradesh, he said there should be an independent judicial inquiry to bring out the truth.

(Published 25 December 2019, 13:53 IST)

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