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Assam govt plans survey to identify indigenous Muslims

Muslims comprise 34% of 3.12 crore population in the state; of these, 4% are indigenous Assamese Muslims while rest are Bengali-speaking ones. The government is yet to begin with the assessment and will start a house-to-house enumeration process to identify indigenous Muslims in Assam.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2020, 08.43 AM IST
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Guwahati: The BJP-led government in Assam will start a house-to-house enumeration process to assess the number of indigenous Muslims in the state. Muslims comprise 34% of the 3.12 crore population in Assam. Of these, 4% are indigenous Assamese Muslims, while the rest are Bengali-speaking Muslims.

Assam minorities welfare minister Ranjit Dutta held a meeting on Tuesday with representative of indigenous Muslim communities such as Gorias, Morias, Deshis and Jolahs and it was decided that the word ‘indigenous’ be removed and be replaced with the name ‘Goria, Moria, Deshi and Jolah Tribe Community Development Council’.

“We have accepted the suggestion. The socio-economic census will be conducted from house to house and will be carried out by the home, revenue and minorities welfare departments,” Dutta told media persons.

In the state budget 2019-20, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had proposed to conduct a census of indigenous Muslims which will help assess their socio-economic condition. The budget also proposed a Development Corporation for indigenous Muslims-.Dutta said some organisations have raised objections to the use of the term ‘indigenous’.

“We have decided to drop the word. This will be a sensitive survey since there are chances that Bangladeshi Muslims might try to get their names enrolled. This is not meant to divide the Muslims. Rather, we are fulfilling our last budget promise. Congress has neglected indigenous Muslims and did nothing for them. We have promised their upliftment in our election manifesto for the 2016 assembly polls and are working towards that.”

Debabrata Saikia, leader of the opposition in the Assam assembly, told ET, “This move will in no way benefit Assam and is meant to divide the Muslims. BJP wants electoral gains as state is going for assembly polls next year.”
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