Gujarat government is using a mandatory Standard 10 and 12 online Board examinations form to single out and identify Muslim students, Ahmedabad Mirror today.
The online form, which all students appearing for the board examination have to fill, asks students if they belong to the minority category. Once the student identifies as a minority, the form has just two options, ‘Muslim’ or ‘Others’. This despite, the state being home to at least four other religious communities; Christians, Sikh, Buddhist and Jains. The Gujarat government, it appears, only wants to know if the student is Muslim or not.
The state Board examinations are conducted by the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (GSHSEB). GSHSEB’s chairman, A J Shah, told the newspaper that the same form has been in place since 2013.
Frantic parents are questioning why the Gujarat government is singling out Muslims and whether the data they are collecting could be misused, as it has been done in the past.
A father of a class 12 student, who runs a restaurant, told the newspaper, “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?”
Another parent said, “This left me wondering if the data gathered from online forms could be misused for something else. This has raised fear in me.”