Writer and social activist with a separatist streak Arundhati Roy has made a controversial statement again, this time in her protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and NRC. During a demonstration at Delhi University, she described the National Population Register (NPR) as part of NRC. She told the motley crowd, “When government employees come to your house to ask for information, give them wrong information. Tell them your name is Ranga or Billa and your address is 7 Race Course Road.”
The BJP promptly shot back at Roy. Subramanian Swamy described the statement as an act of treason. Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “First, a register of intellectuals should be prepared.”
Roy told her student followers, “NPR is a part of NRC. For NPR, when government employees come to your house asking for information, tell them your name Ranga, Billa or Kungfu Dog. Instead of giving your home address, please write 7 Race Course Road (Prime Minister’s residence, the name of the road in which is now Lok Kalyan Marg).”
“Similarly, you can also give them a fake phone number,” Roy said.
Roy criticised the government, saying, “When the floods in the Northeast happen, a mother saves the documents of her citizenship before saving her children. Because she knows if the papers get swept away in the flood, it will be difficult for her to stay in this country.”
If Roy is misleading, so was Kiren Rijiju in 2014
Along with Roy, film actor Zeeshan Ayub and economist Arun Kumar were found misleading students at the North Campus of the University of Delhi. The NPR was initiated by the UPA government. The NPR is a list of all the people residing in India, which includes both citizens and non-citizens.
However, it was none other than this government that misled the people first when the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju in the Rajya Sabha said on 26 November 2014, “The NPR is the first step towards the creation of the NRC by verifying the citizenship status of every usual resident.”
Residents of a locality living there for at least six months with plans to continue their residence for another six months or more are included into the list of NPR. It is prepared as per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, which now stands amended, and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. The listing is done at the local (village/sub-town), sub-district, district, state and national level. Every “usual resident of India” has to register in the NPR mandatorily.
Swamy said today, “This is shocking. This is treason. The data the government is asking for NPR is less than the data required for Visa, MasterCard, banks and elsewhere.”
However, when Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the INC was asked for feedback on this statement, he said that it may sound strange but he does not want to say anything on this. He said, “We would like to tell the people, whether it is the government or the general public, they should follow the rules of the constitution and the law.”
Chouhan said, “If these are the intellectuals of our country, we should first make a register of such intellectuals. By the way, she has already revealed her name, she has said that she knows kung-fu. Arundhati ji should be ashamed. If such statements are not anti-India, what is?”
Ranga and Billa were criminals. In 1978, they were convicted and sentenced to death in a case of kidnapping two teenage siblings, raping the girl and murdering them both in Delhi. Ranga and Billa were later hanged in 1982.