Centre must clear the air on NPR 

Centre must clear the air on National Population Register

The hidden intent of the National Population Register (NPR) seems to have been exposed, albeit inadvertently, through a recent tweet from BJP Karnataka’s verified handle, which leaves no one in doubt about who the real targets of the exercise are. The party’s stand is completely in variance with the assurance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament that not even a single Indian Muslim will lose his or her citizenship as a result of the Citizenship Amendment Act or NPR. The Karnataka unit has tweeted a video of Muslim women standing in a queue during the Delhi elections displaying their voter identification cards, with a mocking update, “Kaagaz Nahi Dikayenge Hum…Keep the documents safe, you will need to show them again during NPR exercise.” The choice of the video and the accompanying text, far from assuaging the sentiments of minorities, gives further credence to the suspicion that the population exercise is indeed aimed at them.

The tweet mistakenly assumed that the Kaagaz Nahi Dikayenge Hum (we will not show our documents) was a call given by Muslims, without realising that it has its origins in a poem penned by Varun Grover in support of the anti-CAA protests. While Modi and Shah accuse the Opposition of misleading the country, they need not look beyond their own backyard to realise who the real culprits are. Be it the ‘goli maaro’ slogan by Union Minister of State Anurag Thakur or the ‘bullets will surely work’ threat by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and now the tweet, it is the BJP which has been indulging in fear-mongering, leading to a sense of fear and insecurity among minorities. Nonetheless, this particular handle, with its recent history of posting misleading and communally sensitive tweets and then quietly deleting some of them following public outrage, has turned out to be an embarrassment to the party. The silence of state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel indicates that such tweets have his concurrence and are not the creation of some juvenile handling the party’s social media account, as is often sought to be portrayed.

The contradiction in the stand of the government and the party begs the question: Who is speaking the truth? Did the government lie to Parliament when it said that Indian Muslims are not targeted and will not be impacted by the population exercise, or is the party revealing the truth by dropping broad hints that the minorities do have a reason to feel concerned? So far, the government and the party have struck a discordant note and their failure to speak in one voice and clear the air will only fan the prevailing atmosphere of mistrust, doubt and panic.  

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