The Central Bank of India issued an advertisement in a national daily newspaper on January 11 calling for the submission of National Population Register (NPR) letter as part of its Know Your Customer or KYC, causing panic among the people.
Several people landed up at the Kayalpattinam branch of the bank in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district to withdraw money from their accounts. Many said they were scared that their money could be blocked.
To clear the confusion, the bank issued a statement on 19 January clarifying that the ‘customer can submit of the officially valid documents for Identity Proof and Address Proof.’
An officer in the bank told NDTV that over Rs 4.5 crore cash has been withdrawn since Saturday, which is six times the usual figure. They have largely been deposits from savings bank accounts.
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Bank officials said that the Reserve Bank of India has given instructions to banks, but it was not made mandatory. This mass withdrawal happened because of the panic which was created by the advertisement. Earlier this week, senior officials from the bank met the depositors and tried to assuage their depositors.
Most of the people who had come to withdraw their money were Muslim women whose husbands or fathers are living abroad and have their savings in the bank accounts. Many said they were afraid that their money would be stuck or they would be made to stand in long queues.
Parties like the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) marched in protest and even criticised the Central Bank of India for the hasty implementation of the RBI’s directive. Professor Jawahirullah, Founder of MMK demanded that RBI withdraw the circular making NPR as one of the documents necessary for KYC.
There have been scattered protests across Tamil Nadu over the last few days against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) Many have pointed out that the collection of demographic and biometric data for updation of NPR is the first step towards implementing National Register of Citizens (NRC).
(With inputs from NDTV)
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