GUWAHATI: Work on a ‘mini-National Register of Citizens (NRC)’ to distinguish Assamese indigenous Muslims from their migrant Bengal-origin counterparts began on Thursday in the state.
The Janagosthiya Samannay Parishad, Assam (JSPA) which has initiated the process launched an online platform-jspacensus.com-for conducting the first-ever census of Assamese Muslims for distinguishing them from their migrant, Bengal-origin or Bengali-speaking counterparts.
In Assam, four communities— Goriya, Moriya, Deshi, and Jolaha — are considered as the indigenous Muslim communities.
According to history, Goriyas were those who converted from various indigenous groups and tribes. While Moriyas were whose ancestors were brought by the Ahom kings to make weapons, Deshis were those who converted specifically from the Koch-Rajbongshi community.
However, the census s likely to keep the Jolahas, converts from tea garden workers’ community who were brought to the state by the British before independence, out of the process.
“Am online platform has been launched today marking the Rongali Bihu celebration. We hope to complete the list within this year,” JSPA’s chief convenor Syed Mominul Aowal said.
The portal has asked an applicant to upload a list of documents for registration. The list of documents included voter card, Aadhaar card and PAN of each family member (non-mandatory for minors), a certified copy from the village head, municipal board, town committee or any other competent authority as well as a certified copy from JSPA-empanelled organisations listing all members of an applicant’s family.
The JSPA has also provided the contact numbers of some 17 organisations which were emplaned with it. A helpline number was also opened.
Awal alleged that the need for the census was felt as a group of the migrated Muslims has conspired to make all Muslims living in Assam one community. “The indigenous Muslims have a distinct identity, given by the Ahom kings and Bir Chilarai (of Koch Royal Dynasty),” Awal said.
While the Muslims constitute 34.22% of Assam’s total population, Awal said Assam’s indigenous Muslim population was estimated to be only around 40 lakh.