In what is being seen as another example of anti-Muslim biases of the Modi government, it has come to fore that government’s calendar prepared for NPR officials, does not include Muslim festivals.
While page number – 32 of the manual enlists Hindu and Christian festivals in the months they fall in, it does not mention any Muslim festival, which many feel, was done deliberately.
For the convenience of the enumerators, a list of important festivals and corresponding Gregorian months in which they fall is also mentioned in the manual, said the government after facing criticism on microblogging site Twitter and other social media platforms.
News agency PTI quoted an MHA official, saying, “The list of Indian festivals was included in it as per the standard of Census 2011 and NPR 2010. This was also pre-tested for Census 2021 and NPR 2020 and no adverse feedback on this annex was ever received”.
“The purpose of this page is to help the enumerators to approximate the month of birth of the respondent,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying by the PTI.
According to the manual, when a respondent knows only the year of birth, the enumerators have to follow the stepwise approach. If the respondent tells only the year of birth but is not sure about the month of birth, the enumerator has to ask whether the birth was before the rainy season or not.
The government had announced that the NPR data will be collected along with the house listing phase of the Census 2021 which will be carried out from April to September 2020.
There have been apprehensions and protests in different parts of the country against the government move alleging that the NPR is a precursor to a country-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
A number of state governments have already announced that they would not allow execution of the project in their states.
With PTI inputs