Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (File)
A letter issued by Mokama block development officer (BDO) in Bihar’s Patna district to school principals, asking for field trainers to collect details for the first phase of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), has prompted the Opposition to target the Nitish Kumar government.
The letter asks principals if they were “opposing NRC under the influence of a particular political party”. The BDO, Satish Kumar, later withdrew it, citing a “typing mistake”, and also served a showcause notice to the assistant who had drafted the letter.
Issued on January 28 to principals of three schools in Rampur Dumra, Maranchi and Mor, the letter said: “Our office had written to you on January 18 and had asked you to give names of two field trainers for registering personal details on NRC in the first phase on CMMS portal as per direction of Directorate of Census, Government of India.”
The letter further states that “it was a matter of regret that names of two field trainers had not been availed.”
“It looks you are opposing NRC under influence of a particular political party,” the letter states, reminding the recipients that action could be taken against them if they failed to provide the trainers.
The letter invoked a sharp response from the Opposition.
A tweet posted from RJD national president Lalu Prasad’s account said, “Even right-wing authoritarians are afraid of talking about NRC today in defense of CAA. But CM Nitish who once proclaimed himself a socialist & Gandhian has ordered to initiate unjust process of NRC. India should watch this communal & divisive camouflage getting off the container.” Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav sought to know if the NRC process had started in Bihar.
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha, too, took a swipe at Nitish. “It seems the Bihar CM has stolen a march over BJP by getting his officer to issue such a letter. The drafting of letter suggests that it was not a typing mistake as it was used twice.”
Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, also hit out at the Chief Minister. Party spokesperson Danish Rizwan asked how a BDO could use such political language in an official letter.
BDO Kumar told The Indian Express: “My office intended to use NPR but NRC was typed in both references. I have withdrawn the letter and showcaused the person who drafted it.”
Asked if he had received any instructions to draft the letter in such a manner from his seniors, Kumar said: “Not at all. I agree that it should not have been drafted in the manner and the sentence on ‘influence from a political party’ could have been avoided.”
JD (U) spokesperson and information and public relations officer Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express: “The Opposition parties are making a mountain out of a molehill. Everyone knows NRC is not notified. The letter meant NPR but wrongly used NRC. It has been withdrawn. The matter rests there.”
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