* Curiosity & confusion prevail among citizens
GUWAHATI: The Janagosthiya Samannay Parishad, Asom (JSPA) has started conducting the first-ever census of indigenous Assamese Muslims with an aim to distinguish them from their migrant counterparts —East Bengal-origin or Bengali-speaking counterparts.
Towards this end the JSPA has launched a portal—www.jspacensus.com to enable the indigenous Muslims to register themselves for the census exercise. The portal has a list of documents that applicants have to upload for registration. The documents include voter card, Aadhaar card and PAN of each family member (non-mandatory for minors), a certified copy from village head, municipal board, town committee or any other competent authority as well as a certified copy from the JSPA-empanelled organizations listing all members of an applicant's family.
The JSPA is a conglomerate of 23 indigenous Muslim organizations of the State.
The development has, however, created curiosity and confusion among indigenous Muslims in the State. Many prominent indigenous Muslims have questioned the authenticity of such unofficial census by the JSPA.
"Does the JSPA have the mandate of all indigenous Muslims to conduct such census? Why should I believe the JSPA? I hope that the move does not have any political objective," Akhtaruddin Ahmed, a retired university teachers of the city, said.
Noted social worker Nakibur Zaman said the present BJP-led government had promised to conduct such a census of indigenous Assamese Muslims. But no such census was conducted in the last five years, he said.
"When there is no official census, there are questions about the unofficial census of indigenous Muslims," Zaman said.
The three-month-long census exercise (April 15 to July 15, 2021) has a cut-off period corresponding with the British annexation of Assam in the early of 1800s. The JSPA considers the pre-British rule Muslims of Assam as indigenous.
As per the 2011 census, the Muslims account for 34.22% of Assam's population. The JSPA has claimed that Assam has now about 1.4 crore Muslims of whom 40 lakh are indigenous Muslims.
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