WB becomes first state to declare it will skip NPR meet in Delhi

A preparatory meeting is scheduled to be held on January 17 in Delhi for upcoming Census and NPR


West Bengal has become the first state to declare that it will not attend the meeting to discuss the National Population Register (NPR) scheduled to be held in Delhi on January 17. TMC supremo and WB Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee made this declaration at a rally held in Kolkata to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and proposed implementation of NPR and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“We will not take part in the meeting on the NPR in Delhi on Friday…. We will not implement the NPR in the state,” Banerjee said at the rally held at Rani Rashmoni Avenue where Trinamool’s student wing was agitating against the CAA. Reportedly, the Centre has asked all states to participate in a preparatory meeting for Census 2021 and updation of NPR 2020 and the nodal officers of states are supposed to attend the meeting. In this meeting the Centre will most likely set out the next step of the exercise.

Last week when the Prime Minister had met with Banerjee in Kolkata, she had urged him to withdraw CAA and to not go ahead with NPR and NRC.

An official in Bengal said that the meeting will be divided into two sessions. One on Census and the other on NPR and Bengal has decided to attend the Census session but skip the NPR one. On December 16, Bengal’s home department had issued an order asking district authorities to put NPR-related activities on hold. This was done as the intention behind NPR is unclear and Banerjee has reportedly given out such orders because of the confusion around NPR.

Banerjee made this declaration to demonstrate her government’s firm stand against NPR since, on January 7, Kamarhati municipality in North 24-Parganas had issued an order to the heads of schools to send the names of enumerators who would carry out the census and the NPR exercise, thus jeopardizing the government’s stand. This declaration is more of a reassurance that Bengal will not carry out NPR related activities unless the government clears the air around NPR and the intention behind it.

Other states in opposition

Apart from West Bengal, there are other states who have taken a firm stand against NPR. Recently, a meeting presided by Congress President Sonia Gandhi was attended by 20 opposition parties which passed a resolution calling for the repeal of CAA and stopping NPR and NRC process.

Congress-ruled MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Puducherry, Congress-partnered Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Trinamool-governed West Bengal and Left-administered Kerala are bound to suspend NPR exercise immediately. However, none of these governments have yet made a decision on whether to attend the Friday preparatory meeting for NPR.


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