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Karnataka minorities in two minds about dealing with NPR

While many Muslim community leaders and organisations have decided to totally boycott the NPR in whatever form the exercise is executed, some are waiting to see how the situation will play out and the central government responds to the ongoing agitation.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2020, 09.12 AM IST
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PTI
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BENGALURU: The Karnataka government’s decision to carry out a survey to update the National Population Register (NPR) data along with the census work starting April has left sections of people undecided over how to respond to the NPR exercise.

While members of all communities have been participating in the protests against the new citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens, the anxiety is particularly evident among the Muslims, who form 12.9% of the state’s population as per the 2011census.

While many Muslim community leaders and organisations have decided to totally boycott the NPR in whatever form the exercise is executed, some are waiting to see how the situation will play out and the central government responds to the ongoing agitation.

For instance, in Hubballi, Ashraf Ali Basheer Ahmed, the coordinator of the Samvidhana Suraksha Samithi who is spearheading protests in the district, said community leaders in the region had decided to cooperate with the census exercise, but not with the NPR.

“We will organise awareness programmes in mohallas and 130 religious institutions in Hubballi, advising people not to share any information with officials who come on house visits for the NPR. A clear distinction will be made on how to respond to both surveys,” he said.

The fear, community leaders said, was that the NPR might serve as a database for the National Register of Citizens. The community will not accept NPR even if the government makes sharing information of Aadhaar, passport number and driver's licence optional, Ahmed said. “Making it voluntary to share certain information is a trick to fool people and to eventually consider them as migrants or doubtful citizens,” he added.

In Bengaluru, religious heads and leaders from the community ET spoke to said they were yet to take a call. Suhail Ahmed, the secretary of Hajee Sir Ismail Mosque, said they were waiting for the Karnataka Joint Action Committee (KJAC), which is organising protests in the city, to make a decision. “Their stand is our stand. However, it is also left to an individual’s discretion. We will not force people to cooperate or not cooperate with the government work,” he said. Bengaluru Jamia Masjid maulana Maqsood Imran Rashadi said he would support the NPR in its original form with a set of 10 basic questions. “Anything beyond that, like asking for date and place of birth of parents, is objectionable. We are not boycotting the NPR but only opposing it and a decision will be taken before the NPR exercise begins,” he said.

(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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