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Nobody should fear CAA, will personally go through NPR forms: Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday said the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) are two different issues and that his government will not allow NRC to be implemented. Adding that nobody should fear CAA, Thackeray also said that he will personally check the columns in the National Population Register (NPR) and that there shouldn't be any problem with the exercise.

Addressing the media in Sindhudurg district, Thackeray said, "CAA and NRC are different issues. NPR is the third issue. Nobody should fear about the CAA. NRC hasn't come and will not come. If NRC is implemented, it will create problems not only for Muslims but for Hindus, Dalits, tribals and others. Centre has not made any statement on NRC. NPR is a census and I will go through columns given in the form. I don't think there will be any problem with it. The census is carried out every ten years."

The Shiv Sena had supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha but walked out during voting in Rajya Sabha. Before this, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said people in Maharashtra need not be scared of the CAA, NPR and NRC, as the government was with them. Patriotism, he said, has no religion and should not be labelled on the basis of it.

During the briefing, Thackeray also added that Elgaar Parishad and Bhima Koregaon are two different issues and that he has not transferred the Bhima Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). "Elgar Parishad and Bhima Koregaon are two different issues. The issue of Dalits is related to Bhima Koregaon. I have not handed over its investigation to the Centre and will not give it. I want to make it clear that there will be no injustice to Dalits," he said.

Last week, a Pune court had ordered transfer of the Elgaar Parishad case records to a special NIA court in Mumbai. Last month, the Centre had transferred the probe into the case from the Pune Police to the NIA, a move then criticised by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government.

The Congress and NCP have made their reservations about Thackeray's decision to let the NIA take over the probe. "This is not fair, we are partners and such things should be discussed. You (Uddhav Thackeray) may have power but one should use it judiciously. Our ministers are there, they'll fight," Mallikarjun Kharge, AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Sharad Pawar, whose NCP is a key constituent of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, also had trained guns at the Maharashtra CM over the decision. "It was not right for the Centre to hand over the investigation into the case to the NIA. But it was even more wrong for the state government to support the transfer of the case," he had said.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgaar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the Pune Police had claimed, triggered violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. The police have claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.

(Inputs from The Indian Express)

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