Google search gives about 8,17,000 results for a ghar wapsi (home coming or re-conversion of religion). Member of Parliament Sakshi Maharaj says, ” [it] is no conversion but just a process to guide these people to the faith where they actually belong.” Budhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam and Christianity and many other religions all grew by converting believers of other religions. Conversions from these religions would then be ghar wapsi. However, adding fuel to fire, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Hyderabad MP, Asaduddin Owaisi, told in a public speech that every person is born a Muslim and later converted to other faiths. Thus any conversion to Islam would also be home coming.
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Ghar Wapsi is a hot topic for the past one month even as PK mops up hundreds of crores at box office. OMG!
What is not reported is a silent conversion of religious faith of voters as recorded by CEO of Karnataka in electoral rolls—especially that of Bengaluru—without consent or knowledge of such voters. This is important, as BBMP elections are fast-approaching.
Corruption of entries while modifying voter records still alive!
The process for changing religion is: A voter needs to edit personal data in the electoral rolls. Innocently he or she uses CEO-KA portal to modify the record. On editing and saving, the record over-writes some other voter’s record.
One citizen loses his voting right and the other (editing the data) gets two entries, potentially a bonus vote, violating the democratic principle of one person one vote. CEO facilitates unequal legislative representation to some people. The new record may be of a person of different age, sex, or religious faith (suggested by voter’s name and relative’s name).
See my post of 21 May 2013. CEO-KA admitted in April 2013 that about 10,000 voters were deleted and equal number of duplicate records created due to this class of software and process error in January and February 2013. Though he stated that the records were corrected, in fact they are not. Unfortunately, even after two years of reporting this problem to CEO and ECI in writing and raising in several meetings, the problem persists.
Thousands of citizens who lost their voting rights over the years due to this error have no ghar wapsi to the electoral rolls. Rolls published on 05 January 2015 smell foul with all too clear indication of the error, possibly corrupting about 200 records out of about 10,000 modifications. See some sample voter records before and after modifications in the table below. Rows with serial numbers prefixed with # show the records before modification, and the next rows show the modified version.
When we can detect such errors with software, Electoral Roll Management System (ERMS) could have easily raised alarms when such modifications were made. Special audit trails could have alerted higher authorities about possible errors so that the changes are verified.
This is not just an alarmist call. Authorities have earlier accepted that such errors have occurred. I know some friends who have lost their names from the records this way and are not yet restored despite reporting to CEO-KA.
Voter AAA, son of OOO
Expectant parents debate over what to name their baby when it arrives. For innovative names, you can check the electoral rolls of Bangalore. There are about 2,000 records with names like ABC, XYZ, AAA, EEE, OOO, etc. XYZ is the top favorite, with about 400 entries. See the sample images below, snipped from CEO-KA website by searching for voter records.
This is not a new error and has been reported to CEO-KA more than an year ago.
As per schema published by ECI, relative’s name can be blank in a voter record. There are thousands of records with blank relative names, which is acceptable. But, entering absurd strings in place of a name is not funny.
This kind of errors are easy to find and fix. If only CEOs, CEO-KA in particular, care about quality of electoral rolls. Do check your name on the voter roll, so that you don’t miss voting in council elections.