Gujarat: Govt asking only Muslim students to identify religion

AHMADABAD: The Gujarat government is using a mandatory online form for Muslim students appearing for their 10th and 12th standard Board examinations whether they belong to the “minority” category, Ahmadabad Mirror reported on Friday.

There are only two options. The first option is ‘Muslims’ and the second option is ‘Others’. The Muslim students when register for board exams are being asked to identify themselves with: ‘Muslim’ and ‘Others’.

Despite Gujarat being home to at least four other minority communities , Christians, Sikh, Buddhist and Jains, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) only seems interested in identifying Muslims, the newspaper has pointed out.

Parents of Muslim students who came to know of the discrepancy questioned why the Gujarat government is discriminating on the basis of religion and collecting this data and whether it could be misused.

Speaking to Ahmedabad Mirror, the father of a class 12 student said children appearing for his 12th Science examinations , “This left me wondering if the data gathered from online forms could be misused for something else. This has raised fear in me.”

“I am scared. Before 2002, a similar exercise was initiated by the Gujarat government where every police station was asked to identify Muslim businesses in their locality. My restaurant was singled out and burnt. It was revealed that rioters had used the census collected by the government and police. I am scared for my son now. Why is Gujarat government keen to know if the student is Muslim or not. What is the purpose?” told Ahmedabad-based Muslim restauranteur, whose son is in a class 12 student.

Muslims make up the largest minority group in Gujarat, which is a bastion of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The state has a history of bigotry and violence against its Muslim minority population.

Read Ahmedabad Mirror’s report here.