A Survey of India team was detained by villagers in West Bengal's Purba Bardhaman district on suspicion that they were collecting data for the National Register of Citizens (NRC), officials said on Friday. The incident happened in Bahirghanya village in Galsi 2 block on Thursday when the five-member team went there for fieldwork, they said.
Locals said that members of the team were taking photographs of places of worship, raising suspicion that they were in the village for the NRC exercise. The surveyors told the locals that they were in the village to update the map of the area but it failed to convince them, officials said. When the locals sought to see their identity cards, they refused, following which they were detained, officials said, adding that members of the team were then taken to the BDO's office.
Block Development Officer (BDO) Shankhya Bandyopadhyay said members of the team clicked photographs of temples and mosques in the village. Since there is a panic over the NRC, the sudden visit by the team led to tension in the village, he added.
"They showed me an order relating to the survey exercise, but there was no prior information about it," Bandyopadhyay added. The officer said that a meeting was held with the locals and they were told that the survey was not related to the NRC. The team has been asked to not proceed with the survey till an official order was communicated to the local authorities, he said.