Kerala was the first state to pass a resolution against CAA and it has also suspended the NPR update process. Finance minister Thomas Isaac tells Preetha Nair that if the Centre tries to force the exercise on Kerala, it could lead to a constitutional crisis.
The Home Minister has assured in Parliament that nobody would be marked ‘doubtful’ and there is no need to provide documents.
I don’t believe Amit Shah because he is the prime architect of all these troubles. On many occasions, he has spoken about how CAA-NRC-NPR will be used to identify and remove all the infiltrators in the country. Even during the NPR process, one can be marked as ‘doubtful’. The CAA-NRC-NPR combine is a divisive instrument and the only way out is to revoke NRC and CAA.
The NPR and census operations are set to begin in April and the census commissioner has written to the Kerala chief secretary to ensure that the exercise happens smoothly.
If they are going to insist on NPR, even the census operation will be in danger, for the first time ever. It was never interrupted even during World War II. The state government has said we will faithfully carry out the census exercise. But we can’t force people if a large section of them refuses to comply. Now a large section is agitating against census too. We haven’t done any training for NPR in Kerala and we refused to print the forms.
Citizenship law is a Union subject. If a state refuses to cooperate, the Centre can take action.
Under the Census Act, the central government can give administrative directive to the state, according to the Constitution. But if the majority of the states refuse, what will the Centre do? If they dismiss all the governments, it will lead to a constitutional crisis. Two-thirds majority in the House doesn’t give you the right to undermine the country’s fundamental federal structure. Whatever happens, we will not implement NPR. Whatever be the means we have to employ, the government will refuse to do it. We refuse because we don’t want to create restlessness and fear among the minorities. There will be an administrative crisis. The Centre should avoid it.
Some states are going by the 2010 NPR format.
NPR cannot be done whether it’s in 2010 format or 2019 format, as it will lead to an all-India NRC. ln 2010, there was no talk of NPR being linked to CAA or NRC. Now the home minister and PM are on record talking about the connection between CAA, NRC and NPR.
What is the way out?
Let the Centre call an interstate council and deliberate with all the CMs. We have conveyed this to the Centre. Even if CAA is constitutionally held valid by SC, that does not validate NPR. Because it can be used for drafting NRC and then it will lead to CAA.