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Over 100 Muslims from Tamil Nadu Village Withdraw Savings from Bank over NPR, Citizenship Fears

Chennai: More than a hundred members of the Muslim community from a village in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district have withdrawn a major part of their savings from a bank over the last few days as they feared they might lose their money when the government initiates the proposed National Population Register (NPR) exercise.

A video of locals of Therizhandur village holding talks with branch officials of the Indian Overseas Bank has surfaced where the latter can be heard urging the villagers to not withdraw their money from the bank.

The manager and staff of IOB held talks with representatives of the local Jamath at a school campus on Friday and assured them that submission of documents during the proposed NPR exercise is not mandatory and their savings are safe with the bank.

However, the Jamath in-charge said the villagers have been living in fear ever since the amended Citizenship Act was passed in both Houses of Parliament and feared losing their hear-earned money.

“We have been hearing about banks including NPR document as part of the KYC (Know Your Customer) list. We don’t want to lose our savings in future. We are not sure what documents are required to prove our citizenship. Therefore, we decided to withdraw the money that we have saved over the years,” the Jamath in-charge, Haja, said.

He said many of the villagers feel they may land themselves into trouble soon for not having all the requisite documents.

In January this year, a notification from the Central Bank of India in Tamil newspapers triggered panic among residents of Kayalpattinam in Thoothukudi district.

The advertisement asked account-holders to submit their KYC document at the earliest and among the list of acceptable proofs was a mention of the NPR.

Soon after, villagers, most of whom are Muslims, started queuing up outside the bank branch as fear gripped locals that this was somehow connected to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

Over Rs 4 crore was withdrawn from the bank in a span of three days with some of the account holders taking out their entire deposits with the bank.

Fear and uncertainty have gripped several Muslims across the country ever since the CAA that expedites the granting of citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan was passed in Parliament.

People are also living in fear about the proposed implementation of the NPR, followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Muslims and critics fear the combined application of the three processes may create trouble for members of the minority community who may not be able to provide all the required documents.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami

Source: News18