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BJP Ally AIADMK Halts Work on NPR in Tamil Nadu Until Centre's Clarification, Says Only Census Exercise Will Be Carried Out

File image of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (PTI Photo)

File image of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (PTI Photo)

The AIADMK last month had written a letter to the Centre raising concerns over the NPR exercise, saying certain information like Aadhaar should be avoided in the upcoming Census.

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government, led by BJP ally All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), on Thursday said it will not issue a notification to carry out the National Population Register (NPR) exercise in the state following the Centre's inaction to a set of queries raised by it.

State Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar said the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led government has only issued a notification to carry out the Census 2021 exercise. "We have not issued a notification to carry out the National Population Register exercise as the central government has not clarified the queries raised by the state government in connection to it," he said.

Palaniswami last month had written to the Centre seeking appropriate amendments to the provisions to allay the fears of minority communities, especially Muslims, over queries like Aaadhar and details of parents and the Centre was yet to respond, said Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar.

The AIADMK is the second ally of the BJP to raise concerns over the NPR after the Assembly in the NDA-ruled Bihar passed a unanimous resolution that it would be carried out strictly according to the 2010 format.

Udhayakumar said the Tamil Nadu government was clear it will begin the exercise only after getting clarification from the Centre.

"Till now there is no reply to the state's letter seeking clarification and hence the NPR exercise is put on hold," he said.

The AIADMK government's stand came amid demands by the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) that the state should not take up the NPR, which has also been stayed in opposition-ruled states of Kerala and West Bengal. The DMK had earlier also questioned the validity of Palaniswami's letter to the government, demanding that a copy of it be made public.

"If it is true that they (AIADMK) really wrote a letter to the central government over certain aspects of the NPR, they should have released the letter," DMK chief MK Stalin had said in a statement. "Why are they discreetly holding it in their possession?"

Criticising the state government, the DMK asked why it was yet to pass in the Assembly a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the NPR.

Responding to the DMK's questions, Palaniswami said such a resolution was "under consideration".

Udhayakumar refuted Stalin's claim that people would be forced to submit documents during the NPR exercise.

"We are repeating again that people need not submit any documents for NPR. During the NPR exercise, if the officials ask questions, whatever answers you are giving, it will be taken. No need to submit any documents," he said.

Hitting out at the DMK, Udhayakumar said the NPR was introduced in 2010 when the party was part of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and did not oppose the move then.

"Even during the DMK rule, NPR was implemented in the state. But now, you all know that there has been a series of discussions on the NPR," he said, adding that the NPR applies to all religions and does not single out any particular religion.

(With inputs from PTI)