Maratha Survey: Christian Community Upset Over Out Of Subject Questions

Maratha Survey: Christian Community Upset Over Out Of Subject Questions

Surveyors asking families questions about their religious conversion and details of property owned by them in their hometowns.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Thursday, February 01, 2024, 10:30 PM IST
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Maratha Survey: Christian Community Upset Over Out Of Subject Questions | Representational Image

Christian community groups have said that the survey being conducted to identify Marathas have confused and angered their members, with surveyors asking families questions about their religious conversion and details of property owned by them in their hometowns, apart from the Maratha question. In many cases, respondents were asked information about their religion, but did not find their denomination listed in the application-based questionnaire they were asked to answer.

One group, the Association of Concerned Christians, Mumbai, has asked members not to respond to surveyors who come after February 2, the last date of the count. The survey began on January 23.

The Maratha Survey

The survey work to identify members of Maratha-Kunbis has been allotted to staff of local municipal corporations who are doing a house-to-house survey to identify members of Maratha community eligible for proposed reservations.

Janet D'Souza, former vice-chairperson of the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission, said that citizens have been asked about their conversion to Christianity. “What has that got to do with the Maratha survey? The question about when we got converted is objectionable. There is something else going on and the government should inquire into it,” said D'Souza.

Melwyn Fernandes, Secretary, Association of Concerned Christians, said that community members have called him to report that in Thane, Mira-Bhayandar and Mumbai, people are moving with an application-based software, asking citizens questions that are not related to Maratha reservations. The surveyors reportedly refused to produce proof of their identity. Fernandes, a Thane resident, said that people visited his factory to ask his workers about their hometowns and the duration for which they have lived in Mumbai.

Community members angry over irrelevant questions

“Many of my workers are from Uttar Pradesh. They were asked when they had come to Mumbai. Where is the need for such questions?” asked Fernandes.

Another Thane resident, 86-year-old Ignatius Quadras, was asked whether he owned any property in his home state which is Karnataka. “I told them I have been living in Thane for 60 years and did not own any land or house there,” said Quadras.

In Mira-Bhayandar, respondents did not find a column for Catholics in the questionnaire. Merlyn Dsa, a corporator in Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, was confused when she saw columns only for East Indian Catholic, East Indian, and Nadar Christians. “I am neither of these. I am Catholic but ticking the column for East Indian Catholic is giving wrong information because East Indian Catholics are classified as 'Other Backward Class' which I am not,” said Dsa.

In Mumbai, there are reports that residents of Marol in Andheri, and in Juhu were asked details of the number of people living in the house and also informed him that the survey was done to give food rations to one particular community. “We are alerting the Christian community not to entertain (the surveyors) and refuse to answer such questions,” said Fernandes.

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