Skip to main content

Citizenship row: Over 1100 women sign letter asking 29 CMs to delink NPR, Census

By Our Representative
Even as the Government of India (GoI) is going ahead with the "updation" of the National Population Register (NPR) starting April 1, 2020, prominent women's rights leaders have released a letter addressed to 29 chief ministers stating that, "irrespective of caste and religious community", women across the country will be adversely affected by the "new NPR-National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) citizenship regime."
Signed by over 1,100 women led by Annie Raja, Farah Naqvi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Vani Subramanian, Meera Sanghmitra, Mariam Dhawle and Poonam Kaushik, and 10 women's organizations, the letter says the whole idea of the new exercise is to "test" citizenship, which is "totally arbitrary and frightening". The NPR process is proposed to be carried out alongside house listing for the Census of India.
The signatories of the letter, who include activists, writers, academics, lawyers, doctors, farmers, professionals, anganwadi workers and from other walks of life, belonging to over 20 states, say, “We write to you as Indian women who are opposed to NPR. We constitute nearly 50% of India’s population, and this opposition is based on clear evidence from our own lives."
Releasing the letter at a media conference in Delhi, Annie Raja quoted the letter as saying, “Women often do not have land or property in their names, have lower literacy rates, and leave their natal homes upon marriage with no documents in tow. In Assam, a vast majority of the 19 lakh, left out of the NRC, are women. That is the reality.”
The letter adds, women and children, from Adivasi communities, Dalit women, Muslim women, migrant labourers, small farmers, the landless, domestic workers, sex workers and transgender persons, being asked to ‘prove’ citizenship, putting them at grave risk of being disenfranchised.
Women often don't have land or property in their name, have low literacy rates. Children from poorer sections don't have birth certificates
The letter notes, Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, and the accompanying 2003 Rules,clearly provide for using NPR data to compile NRIC, and give local registrars the power to mark people as ‘doubtful citizens.’
Objecting to Union home minister Amit Shah’s March 12 statement in Parliament that no one will be marked 'doubtful', it adds, his statement "carries no legal sanctity, until the relevant statutes and rules are formally amended."
The letter asks chief ministers to delink the NPR and the Census, insisting, while many states have passed resolutions in the Legislative Assembly opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and NRC, unless specific executive orders are issued to de-link NPR and census, the resolutions will only remain a statement of expression.
Only two states -- Kerala and West Bengal -- have issued executive orders, staying the roll out of the NPR, while Rajasthan and Jharkhand have given orders only for the roll out of the census from April 1, 2020.

Text of the letter:

We write to you as Indian women who are opposed to the proposed National Population Register (NPR). Women constitute nearly 50% of India’s population, and this opposition is based on clear evidence from our own lives.
Section 14 A of the Citizenship Act, the accompanying 2003 Rules, and official reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs, all provide for using NPR data to compile the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). The NRIC will be prepared by local registrars scrutinizing information of individuals in the Population Register and marking people as ‘Doubtful Citizens’.
While the Home Minister on March 12, 2020 stated in Parliament that no one will be marked “doubtful”, this assurance carries no legal sanctity, until the relevant statutes and rules are formally amended
Women, irrespective of caste and religious community, will be hugely affected by the NPR-NRIC citizenship regime being rolled out by the Central government, that puts all our citizenship rights to test, in an arbitrary and frightening manner. The combination of the NPR and NRIC will force each person to prove their citizenship, and disproportionately put at risk the women, the weakest, and the most marginal people of our country.
Unless executive orders are issued to delink NPR and Census, resolutions passed by some assemblies will remain statements of expression
NRC in Assam resulted in excluding 6% of the population, because they could not produce necessary documents. Of the 19 lakh people, who today live the daily trauma of an uncertain future, a vast majority, are women and children. This includes married women, who left natal homes and carried no papers into their marital home. Nothing saved them – panchayat certificates linking them to original ‘legacy’ holders were often rejected. This is the frightening reality staring many Indian women in the face today.
Women often do not have land or property in their names. They have lower literacy rates. The low rate of institutional deliveries several decades ago, means that children do not have birth certificates. It is clear that women and children from Adivasi communities, nomadic and denotified tribes, Dalit women, Bahujan women, Muslim women, women from other minority communities, women with disabilities, migrant labourers, small farmers, the landless, domestic workers, sex workers, transgender and queer persons, and women in the unorganised sector, asked to ‘prove’ citizenship, will all be at grave risk of being disenfranchised.
It is now up to you, as a state government, to prevent this mass chaos and attack on India’s most marginal. Protect our rights by stopping NPR.
We also ask you to protect the sanctity of the Census, which we know is vital to planning development for the most marginal citizens of our country.
We, therefore, ask the state government to ensure that:
  1. The NPR and the Census are de-linked, and from April 1, 2020 enumerators are sent out only with the census schedule. 
  2. Appropriate executive decisions to this end must be urgently issued and publicised.
  3. Safeguard citizens of (name of state), and ensure no punitive action against anyone engaging in a boycott of NPR.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry deceptively using geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

Mired in controversy, India's polio jab programme 'led to suffering, misery'

By Vratesh Srivastava*  Following the 1988 World Health Assembly declaration to eradicate polio by the year 2000, to which India was a signatory, India ran intensive pulse polio immunization campaigns since 1995. After 19 years, in 2014, polio was declared officially eradicated in India. India was formally acknowledged by WHO as being free of polio.