Women write to CMs, seek delinking of NPR from Census 2021

Image Courtesy: Reuters

New Delhi: About 1, 000 women lawyers, academics, anganwadi workers and organisations from 20 states have written letters to all Chief Ministers of the country, flagging to them the "grave danger" to women due to linking the updation of NPR with the house listing of Census 2021.

Releasing the letter at a press conference here on Monday, women activists, such as Annie Raja, Farah Naqvi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Vani Subramanian, Meera Sanghmitra, Mariam Dhawle and Poonam Kaushik appealed to the CMs, said women were opposed to the National Population Register (NPR) on the basis of “clear evidence from our own lives.”

The updation process is likely to begin across the country on April 1. So far, two states- Kerala and West Bengal — have issued executive orders, staying the roll out of the NPR, while Rajasthan and Jharkhand have given orders only for the roll out of the Census from April 1, 2020.

In a press statement released later, Annie Raja said: “Women often do not have land or property in their names, have lower literacy rates, and leave their natal homes upon marriage with no documents in tow. In Assam, a vast majority of the 19 lakh, left out of the NRC, are women. That is the reality.”

Social activist Farah Naqvi said: “All women, irrespective of caste and religious community, will be affected by this new NPR-NRIC citizenship regime that puts our citizenship to test in a totally arbitrary and frightening manner.”

The activists feared that women and children from adivasi communities, dalit women, muslim women, migrant labourers, small farmers, the landless, domestic workers, sex workers and transgender persons, asked to ‘prove’ citizenship, “will all be at grave risk of being disenfranchised.”

Speakers at the press conference said that to protect the sanctity of the Census operations, women from across India had asked Chief Ministers of every state to de-link the NPR and the Census, sending enumerators out only with the Census schedule.

“While many states have passed resolutions in the Legislative Assembly opposing CAA, NRC, NPR, unless specific executive orders are issued to de-link the NPR and census which is set to be rolled out from April 1, the resolutions will only remain a statement of expression. Each state government must issue executive orders to de-link NPR and census immediately,” they said.

First published in Newsclick.