Amid widespread resentment and protests against the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), Bihar State's Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution against it.
Though the NRC has not been passed or even introduced in Parliament, if it happens, it is not in the power of state assemblies to refuse the implementation of a law adopted by Parliament.
The Janata Dal (United) led Bihar government has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its coalition partner in the state government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already clarified that the NRC has not been even discussed in his Union Cabinet to date. Still, the controversy over the NRC erupted following conflicting statements given by the government at different points of time.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah had stated in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament in November 2019 that the NRC, which was executed in the northeastern state of Assam, would be replicated all across India. But in an interview to the Indian news agency ANI, Shah clarified that there had been no discussion on it so far.
The policy is creating a controversy over the indication of the nationwide implementation of the proposal, as its introduction in Assam state left over 1.9 million people on the list of non-citizens. Assam shares a border with Bangladesh, and the State has a large population of illegal immigrants, including many Muslims.
Row over National Population Register (NPR)
Meanwhile, the Bihar State Assembly also passed a resolution about a census-based NPR, saying it would implement the policy (NPR) in its earlier 2010 format, without the amendments introduced by the Central government recently.
It stated in media reports that the new version of the NPR exercise asks for details such as an Aadhaar (12-digit unique identification number) and the birthplace of parents, which is being contested. However, this detail is optional for citizens to provide.
The NPR is an exercise that stipulates the collection of biometric and demographic data to identify citizens of India. The Opposition parties claim the NPR is actually the first step towards the implementation of the contentious NRC.
Before Bihar passed a resolution against the NRC and on the NPR, West Bengal and Kerala states also passed similar resolutions in their respective state assemblies against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which allows citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.