Guwahati, April 17: A Muslim organisation -- Janagosthiya Samannay Parishad, Assam (JSPA) -- launched an online census of Assamese indigenous Muslims to differentiate them from the 'migrant Muslims'.
The JSPA, which launched the online exercise on Thursday, aims to distinguish the Goriya, Moriya and Deshi, who are stated to be Assamese indigenous Muslim communities, from the Bengali-speaking migrant Muslims to re-ascertain their clear identity as original residents of Assam.
JSPA's chief convener Syed Mominul Awal said that they launched a portal on Thursday and people can apply within three months.The JSPA provided a helpline number to facilitate registrations by the indigenous Muslims.
Awal said that the applicants would have to upload documents such as voter card, Aadhaar card and Permanent Account Number (PAN), a certified copy from the village head, municipal board, town committee or any other competent authority.
A certificate issued by any organisation empanelled by the JSPA would have to be submitted online.The JSPA leader claimed that "Goriya, Moriya, Deshi etc" are Assam's indigenous Muslim communities. "Due to our similar religion identity and resemblance in names, there is no difference between indigenous Muslims and migrant Muslims.
The indigenous Assamese Muslims have a distinct identity, given by the Ahom kings and Bir Chilarai (of Koch Royal Dynasty)," Awal told the media adding that it was unfortunate that in the name of Islam, the indigenous Muslim communities were being merged with the "Miyas" (Bengali-speaking migrated Muslims).
Muslims, who migrated to Assam from before the British annexation of Assam in the early 1800s, will be considered as indigenous in the unofficial exercise. The exercise, according to the experts, is like as a "mini NRC" (National Register of Citizens).
According to the officials Census of 2011, Muslims account for 34.22 per cent in entire state, while Hindus and other religions account for the rest of the 3.12 crore total population of Assam.
Of the 126 assembly seats, religious minorities decide the electoral fate of 23 seats, mostly in western and southern Assam and play a crucial role in about seven more assembly seats in different districts.
Of Assam's 34 districts, 12 per cent or more Muslim populations reside in 19 districts and in nine districts (out of 19 districts) Muslim population constitutes 50 per cent or more.
Renowned political commentator Sushanta Talukdar said that considering the sentiments of the Assamese and sensitivity of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the BJP remained sceptical and making statements on a cautious note to avoid the split of its votes in the elections.
"Illegal migration is a key issue in Assam for the past many decades and obviously before every election, this becomes a main issue for all the political parties during the recently concluded elections too," Talukdar told IANS.