Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that there was no talk about the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is “a pause and not a period,” ace election strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor tweeted today. He suggested that NRC would be back on target as soon because the government scored a Supreme Court go-ahead on the controversial citizenship law CAA.
“The claim of (there is not any talk about NRC) is nothing but a tactical retreat within the face of nationwide protest against #CAA, NRC. it’s an interruption and not the complete stop. Government could wait until Supreme Court judgement on CAA. A favourable writ and therefore the whole process are going to be back,” tweeted Prashant Kishor, vice chairman of Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal United, a BJP ally.
Though he doesn’t specify, Mr Kishor’s comment refers to PM Modi’s assertion during a rally in Delhi on Sunday. “I want to inform the 130 crore citizens of India that since my government has come to power, since 2014, there has been no discussion on NRC anywhere. Only after the Supreme Court’s order, this exercise was finished Assam,” he said, accusing opposition parties including the Congress of spreading “lies” against his government. That comment contradicted Home Minister Amit Shah’s multiple assertions till then that “NRC is coming and it’ll be administered within the whole country”.
On Tuesday, however, Amit Shah told press agency ANI: “PM Modi was right, there’s no discussion on (pan-India NRC) yet either within the Cabinet or Parliament.” The clarification was interpreted as an effort to calm tempers amid nationwide protests against the CAA and NRC. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act is that the first law to form religion a criterion for Indian citizenship. the govt says the CAA will help non-Muslims minorities who fled religious persecution in Muslim-dominated Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh get Indian citizenship easily.
However, critics say the law discriminates blatantly against Muslims then, is totally against secular principles enshrined within the constitution of India. Amit Shah’s earlier comments on “first citizenship bill, then NRC” have raised concerns that Muslims are going to be the foremost susceptible to citizenship checks, though the govt has repeatedly denied it. Nearly 60 petitions are filed against the citizenship law within the Supreme Court, which can take up the topic in January.