While the NRC authority in Assam is having a tough time verifying lakhs of documents submitted by applicants as well as goading concerned States to respond to queries about the origins of migrants, a fresh controversy has erupted over the status of indigenous Muslims here. To their utter dismay, some indigenous Muslim applicants after making enquiries with the NRC authority have learnt that their mes have not been attached with the ‘origil inhabitant’ (OI) ag. In a few cases, while some villages inhabited by indigenous Muslims have received the OI tag, many of their residents reportedly have not. This has set alarm bells ringing among Goria-Moria, Desi, Jalaha, Maimol and other indigenous Muslim communities. Their forefathers came to Assam some eight centuries back, their descendents have made many sacrifices and contributed hugely to help build a composite society here. So thoroughly have these communities mingled into the history and linguistic-cultural identity of the State, that it now comes as a shock that they have to clamour for OI status. The problem is said to be with Islamic surmes — the NRC authority is reportedly having trouble separating immigrant Muslims from sons of the soil bearing the same faith. If this is true, then there must be something highly amiss in the NRC system that was supposed to verify the status of people door-to-door. When the draft NRC publication deadline (after missing a few earlier) is looming as close as December 31 this year, such confusions at this stage are ucceptable. The AASU and 27 ethnic organisations have rightly rallied to the cause of indigenous Muslim communities. It is now upon the State government to issue a clear directive to resolve the issue.
OI for Indigenous Muslims