Amit Shah keeps Karnataka Muslims on toes

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be implemented across the country before 2024 has left the 75 lakh-strong Muslim community in the state anxious.

Several jama’ats — communities affiliated to a particular mosque — are on their toes, compiling the list of residents and their legacy documents, a day after Shah said that all infiltrators will be expelled before the next general elections.

The Karnataka State Board of Wakfs (KSBW), too, has stepped in by instructing district wakf units to ensure that local mosques compile citizenship documents of its residents. The measure, according to sources, is meant to assist illiterate families in securing the required papers ahead of the NRC and Census 2021.

The Muslim community has been particularly anxious after Shah made a statement that “Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees will not be forced to leave India.”

After the NRC exercise in Assam, 19 lakh people — mostly Muslims — were declared as “illegal” settlers. 

U Hasanabba, president of Charmady mosque committee in Dakshina Kannada district, said that though none of the residents in the community was from “outside”, measures were being taken to compile the documents of everyone affiliated to the jama’at.

“Several mosques in the district have started gathering documents of families. We will hold a meeting after Friday prayers and decide on a similar course of action,” he said. 

In Bengaluru, the Hajee Sir Ismail Sait Masjid has started issuing NRC forms to the residents. An announcement to this effect was made on Tuesday. Duly filled forms are to be submitted at the mosque itself (a phone number has been given for FAQs). Volunteers will visit houses in January for information/clarification. 

Service centres

Besides, Citizen Service Centres were opened at Jamia Masjid, KR Market and two other mosques in October. While the stated objective of the exercise was to correct identity and address documents, it came against the backdrop of Shah’s earlier assertions on the NRC. The service is free of charge and open to non-Muslims, too. 

Maulana Mohammed Maqsood Imran Rashadi, the imam of Jamia Masjid, said they weren’t worried about the NRC. “An overwhelming majority of Muslims in South India have been living here for centuries. We just want to ensure that poor and illiterate Muslims get their voter IDs and other documents right,” he told DH. 

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