Kochi: Mounting protests across the state and the country against CAA have prompted the Kerala government to halt all activities related to the National Population Register. The government issued an order on Friday night on the immediate suspension of data collection for NPR.
General Administration principal secretary K R Jyothilal said the decision was taken considering the apprehensions among the general public about the conduct of NPR-related activities and that it would lead to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Sources in the government said that since a batch of petitions against CAA is under the consideration of the Supreme Court, it is only appropriate that the NPR work is also suspended to allay public fears. However, the Chief Minister’s Office has made it clear that the government will cooperate with the Census, an essential data-gathering exercise.
The state had issued an order on November 12 to continue works under the NPR. As per the order, data would be collected from houses following visits by officials in April and May next year.
The LDF government faced a barrage of criticism from the Opposition for proceeding with the NPR. Opposition leaders said the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal has suspended all activities tied to the population register after doubts were cast on its intention and it was cited as the first step towards forming the NRC.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not have any sincerity in his opposition to the CAA as he had proceeded with the moves on NPR. This showed his double standards, Ramesh had said, pressing the government to freeze the move on the population register.