Assam plans survey to identify Indigenous Muslims so that state benefits can reach them

GUWAHATI: Assam will carry out a survey to identify Indigenous Muslim population of the state so that they can be segregated from illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

The survey will identify people from Goria, Moria, Desi and Jolah of the tea tribes, considered to be indigenous.

"Assam has about 1.3 crore Muslims population, of which around 90 lakh are of Bangladeshi origin. The remaining 40 lakh are from different tribes and they need to be identified," Assam Minority Development Board Chairman Muminul Aowal said.

The exercise to identify them is therefore important so that the indigenous Muslim people can get access to government welfare schemes in absence of proper identification, Aowal said.

The NRC is unreliable as the final list includes lakhs of Bangladeshi-origin people. “If we do not act now, one day all the indigenous tribes will be wiped out from Assam," he added.

"We will request the state government to get an approval from the RGI (Registrar General of India). Without the RGI's approval, the findings may not be legally tenable,” Aowal said according to media reports.

In this regard, Assam Welfare of Minorities Minister Ranjit Dutta along with different stakeholders had called for a meeting to come up with a plan.

Around 1.9 million people have been left out in Assam. The NRC exercise was concluded in August last year. According to a survey conducted by the Rights & Risks Analysis Group (RRAG), those who have been left out from the NRC list in Assam spent a total of Rs 7,836 crore in appeals and hearings. The NRC exercise carried out under the supervision of the Supreme Court aims to identify foreigners who entered the state after 24th of March 1971. This is in keeping with Assam Accord that was agreed upon by the Centre and state bodies.

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