The Gujarat government is using a mandatory examination online form to identify Muslim students, Ahmedabad Mirror reported today.
The online form, which class 10 and 12 students appearing for board examinations are required to fill up, asks them whether they belong to a "minority." Once the student identifies as a minority, the form has two options: Muslim or other, according to the report.
The newspaper has pointed out that Gujarat has at least four religious minorities, Christians, Sikh, Buddhist and Jains, but the Gujarat government is only asking Muslims students to identify themselves.
Parents of Muslim students are questioning why the Gujarat government is collecting this data and whether it could be misused.
Speaking to Ahmedabad Mirror, the father of a class 12 student said, "This left me wondering if the data gathered from online forms could be misused for something else. This has raised fear in me."
A father of another 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?"
GSHSEB (Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board) chairman, A J Shah, told the newspaper that the same form has been in place since 2013.
Read Ahmedabad Mirror's report here.