An online ‘census’ for the indigenous Assamese Muslims has been initiated in Assam. 

The website for conducting the online ‘census’ has been launched by Janagosthiya Samannay Parishad, Assam (JSPA), an umbrella body of more than 30 indigenous organisations in Assam. 

The JSPA said that the aim of conducting the online census is to ‘distinguish’ Assamese Muslims from Bengali-speaking migrant Muslims. 

Chief Convener of JSPA, Syed Muminul Aowal, who is also the Chairman of the Assam Minorities Development Board said: “The census is modelled on the lines of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).” 

The JSPA represents three categories of Assamese Muslims — Goriya, Moriya and Deshis. 

The Goriyas and the Moriyas basically belong froom from Upper Assam, and the Deshis belong from Lower Assam. 

Goriyas belong to the group of Assamese Muslims who converted from various indigenous groups and tribes. 

Moriyas are those whose ancestors were brought by the Ahom kings to make weapons and utensils and Deshi are those, who converted specifically from the Koch-Rajbongshi community. 

The ‘census’ will be open online for a period of three months. 

Those “Assamese Muslims” willing to register themselves in the online ‘census’ can visit the website launched by the JSPA – 

“Applicants will have to submit their documents, including a certificate mentioning the community they belong to — Goriya, Moriya or Deshi,” Aowal said. 

The others include voter card/Aadhaar card, PAN Card, and Gaon Bura (village head) certificate. “They will be then given an Application Receipt Number (ARN),” he added. 

A cut-off period has also been set for the exercise that corresponds with the British annexation of Assam in the early 1800s.  

The JSPA considers the pre-British rule Muslims of Assam as indigenous. 

“This exercise was necessary as some migrant Muslims have undertaken an initiative to bring all Muslims living in Assam under one umbrella. Our religion and names may be the same but the indigenous Muslims have a distinct identity, given by the Ahom and Koch kings,” Aowal added. 

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