The mammoth census exercise that started on Thursday has received support from unexpected quarters: Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik.
“We have realised that the decision to boycott the census exercise in the past was not wis,” Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik said.
“We urge people to participate in the census,” he said. “It’s an apolitical exercise meant for projecting right figures of population in the state.”
But opposition to the census continues in other separatist ranks. “New Delhi has used many tools in the past to fudge the (figure of) the Muslim population in the state,” said Javeed Mir, chief of a JKLF faction.
“India is hatching a conspiracy to manipulate the upcoming census,” said hardline Huriyat leader Syed Shah Geelani.
Census 2011 starts in Kashmir on May 15.