[Reader-list] Controversial Muslim survey in Kerala irks residents

Javed javedmasoo at gmail.com
Mon Nov 8 20:21:48 IST 2010

Controversial Muslim survey in Kerala irks residents

Sovi Vidyadharan, Updated: November 05, 2010 22:31 IST

Thiruvananthapuram:  An America-based survey has hit communal
sentiments in Kerala with a provocative questionnaire aimed at gauging
the attitude towards America and Islam. Now the Centre has taken up
the issue, with the Home Ministry demanding a report from the
Intelligence Bureau on the survey.

Questions like these were asked:

    * Do you consider yourself an Indian first or Muslim?
    * What's your view on imposing Islamic law in India?

These are some of the controversial questions in the 83-page
questionnaire, part of a survey done in a Muslim-dominated locality of
Thiruvananthapuram a month ago.

The door to door survey by the Kochi branch of a
Hyderabad-headquartered agency called TNS was carried out by a
five-member all-woman team.

NDTV has a copy of the questionnaire that also asked the respondents:
Their views about the US administration and its policies and whether
America is seen as anti-Muslim.

Residents of the colony in Thiruvananthapuram, where the survey was
conducted, say it is the objectionable and controversial nature of the
questions that made them alert the police.

"They asked us many questions that provoked us. Questions like whether
you consider yourself as an Indian or a Muslim, your opinion of Osama
Bin Laden, your view of the Indian military etc," said Afsal Khan,
local resident.

Irritated by such questions, respondents called in the police after
which the survey was stopped. The women were questioned and later

TNS authorities were called in who said they were doing the survey for
the Washington-based Princeton Survey Research Associates.

"Since the survey had many questions with a communal overtone, we have
registered a case of promoting enmity between various groups (Sec 153
A of IPC) and we are investigating the matter. We have also sought the
help of the Central agencies on this," said Jacob Punnoose, Director
General of Police, Kerala.

Despite repeated attempts by NDTV, the agency that did the survey did
not take calls. Security agencies are also analysing the timing of the
survey as it was done just weeks before US President Obama's visit to


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