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Amid Clashes over Citizenship Act, Bengal Govt Issues Stay Order on National Population Register Work

The official circular said no activity regarding NPR shall be taken up without prior clearance from the state government. The order has been issued in the interest of public order, it added.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:December 16, 2019, 8:48 PM IST
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Amid Clashes over Citizenship Act, Bengal Govt Issues Stay Order on National Population Register Work
File photo of Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

New Delhi: Hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced in a mega rally in Kolkata on Monday that her government would not implement the amended Citizenship Act that was passed by Parliament recently and the National Register of Citizens, senior officials issued stay orders on work related to the National Population Register (NPR) across the state.

The official circular, (392-Home (NPR)/O/Cen-02/19) issued by the additional secretary of Home and Hill Affairs Department said, “I am directed to inform you that all activities regarding the preparation and updation of the National Population Register (NPR) are hereby stayed in West Bengal. No activity regarding NPR may be taken up without prior clearance from the state government. The order has been issued in the interest of public order”.

The letter was forwarded to all the district magistrates and commissioners of Kolkata and Howrah Municipal Corporations.

The state has seen several incidents of arson and vandalism in the past few days by people protesting against the law with a number railway stations being set ablaze and many trains burnt.

The TMC supremo, who led the rally from Red Road to Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral house of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in north Kolkata, said, "As long as I am alive, I will never implement the citizenship law or NRC in the state. You can very well dismiss my government or put me behind bars but I will never implement this black law. We will continue to protest democratically till this law is scrapped. If they want to implement it in Bengal they will have to do it over my body."

The NPR is a register of residents of the country. It is being prepared at the local (village/sub-town), sub-district, district, state and national levels under provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

The objective of the NPR, containing demographic and biometric particulars, is to create an identity database of every resident in the country.

Soon after, the BJP condemned the decision of the state government.

Party's state unit president Dilip Ghosh told News18, “It has become a fashion of the TMC to oppose everything which is good for the people of this state. She (Banerjee) doesn’t want NPR to happen because her intention is to convert Bengal into Pachim (West) Bangladesh. Today, you must have noticed that she was addressing her rally in Hindi and Urdu. Whom was she trying to instigate to create violence? This has been exposed. We are in talks with the Union Home Ministry over the issue.”

“The chief minister's only agenda is to appease Muslim voters and she hardly cares about anyone else in Bengal. She only worried about her chair.”

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