Amidst BJP’s NRC demand, Imams of West Bengal ask Muslims to keep citizenship records ready

The Imams of prominent mosques and many Muslim organisations of West Bengal have urged people of their community to be prepared with the necessary documents and other legal records to prove their citizenship in the case National Registry of Citizens is implemented in West Bengal.

While Imams are making announcements in mosques during weekly prayers, the Muslim organisations have been arranging special awareness drives and workshops across the states to help people if NRC is implemented.

Recently, the Imam of Nakhoda mosque Maulana Shafique Qasmi at the congregation after the Friday prayers during Eid had asked the people of the Muslim community and other citizens of the state to keep their documents ready.

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“Everyone should have the papers like voter identity card, Aadhar card, land records, property inheritance papers, etc – in short, every single document in order so that he can produce the same whenever required,” the cleric said.

The cleric said that other Imams during the prayers should educate people regarding the NRC. “Many who are not educated enough and don’t know whether their papers are in order or not due to glitches like misspellings, need to be informed by community leaders that they should update their records soon,” he said.

It is reported that the outreach programme will be in the form of a public address system, street corner meetings, social media and sermons at the mosques. The idea is to educate people regarding the necessity of including names in the electoral rolls, updating the spelling and errors in the details of the concerned person in case if it is wrongly updated.

Md Nooruddin, president of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s (JIH) said that there is more than 2.5 lakh Muslims youths in West Bengal who do not have a voter card.  He added that the names of these people are present in the Census and they have other documents, but, there are many errors in their voter and Aadhar Card, as they are not properly educated and mostly work outside West Bengal.

“From September 1, the Election Commission will start a drive in Bengal for updating and rectifying the voters’ list. Our volunteers will go door-to-door to make people aware that they need to include their names in the voters’ list”, said Mohammed Nooruddin.

A T M Rafiqul Hassan, president of the All Bengal Imam and Moizzin Samity said that he will issue a notification to all Imams at all mosques in every district that they should create awareness regarding the importance Aadhaar cards, voter IDs and other forms of identity.

Rahul Sinha, BJP’s national secretary said that the initiative is good as it creates awareness. He said that the BJP is not against the Muslims who are sons of the soil. He said that people should get their papers ready. “Our standpoint is clear. We want to identify infiltrators. Only voter cards won’t do. We also will give recognition to those who were forced to come here after religious persecution”, said Sinha.

This comes as the Supreme Court-monitored National Register of Citizens (NRC) was implemented in Assam and resulted in leaving out of names of 40 lakh people because of their failure to present proper documents at the time of verification. The BJP leaders of the West Bengal has said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be updated in West Bengal if the BJP is voted to power in the State.


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