Calling the proposed National Population Register exercise atrocious and a recipe of havoc in India, women organisations in Maharashtra are unitedly raising their voice against this controversial population register. A total of 25 women organisations met on Tuesday, February 25, and demanded that state government must not allow this to happen. With this, they have made it clear that women will be at the forefront of the battle against the CAA-NRC-NPR in the state.
"NPR 2020 has seven added questions than the 2010 census. It involves the biometric system as well. In such a scenario, the data which would be generated through this entire proposed exercise may expose all the citizens to fraud and misuse. There is no proper authority to safeguard the data. All this will lead to further chaos and fear among the people. Therefore, Maharashtra government must reject the idea of NPR itself," demanded the letter signed by all the 25 organisations.
These organisations have also noted down a number of reasons for their opposition to NPR. "National Child Rights Commission has also observed that Maharashtra features among one of the top states in the country for child marriages. In such cases, girls don't bring their papers from homes. Not just that, there are many women who don't know the history of their family or other such information. In such case, NPR would remove them from the list of citizens. Thousands and thousands of such poor, working women will be hurt due to this exercise," senior women’s rights activist Bharati Sharma told NewsClick.
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The memorandum also exposed the inefficiency of the government in dealing with genuine issues of the queer community. "Many queer or transgender persons do not stay with their families as their families do not accept them. This citizenship procedure which asks about their relationships and family documents is therefore a serious issue before them all. There are various issues like giving right information to officers as well as estranged families providing right information. So not filing these forms or lack of any information would lead them to losing their citizenship status. Therefore, state government should take the right approach by rejecting the NPR," the memorandum stated.
In the memorandum, these organisations have raised concerns of transgenders, children who are not living with their families, waste pickers, orphans and women from minority communities. They have requested the state government to take a decision considering all these stakeholders of the state.
The letter was submitted following CM Uddhav Thackeray’s statement that the NPR is a similar exercise to Census and that there is no harm in that. However, Thackeray had later said that additional questions in the NPR will be scrutinised and if anything is found objectionable, the exercise would not be allowed in the state.