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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Assam: ‘Miyan Museum’ sealed, Mohar Ali and Abdul Baten held

The Assam Police on Tuesday detained two individuals including Asom Miyan (Asomiya) Parishad president Mohar Ali after the Goalpara district administration sealed the private “Miyan Museum” — set up by Muslims.

The museum was sealed by the authorities after Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma raised questions on its funding.

Ali, and Abdul Baten were apprehended from Lakhipur and brought to Goalpara Sadar police station for questioning.

Assam’s Special Director General of Police G.P. Singh in a tweet said: “Mohar Ali of Goalpara and Abdul Baten of Dhubri have been detained. Further investigation and interrogation would be carried out about their association with AQIS/ABT.”

Assam police since April this year have arrested around 40 terror suspects in connection to Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), an affiliate of the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) terror group backed modules and a strict vigilance is being maintained, particularly in the minority-dominated areas of western and central Assam.

The “Miyan Museum” was inaugurated in Dapkarbhita area in western Assam’s Goalpara district on Sunday.

The term “Miya” is used mostly by the indigenous communities to refer to Bengali or Bengal-origin Muslims who have settled on both sides of the Brahmaputra river in Assam since the late 1890s after the British brought them for commercial farming and other work.

A notice of Lakhipur Revenue Circle, pasted at the door of the “Miya Museum”, read: “As per the direction of the DC, this PMAY-G house of Mohar Ali S/O Somesh Ali of village Dapkarbhita is hereby closed until further order.”

The Chief Minister said that the police would initiate a probe into the source of funding for setting up the “Miyan Museum”.

“Those who set up the Miyan Museum would have to answer the government’s queries, failing which legal action would be initiated against them,” Sarma told the media.

The Chief Minister said that he has been always saying that the emergence of ‘Miya poetry’, ‘Miya schools’ are challenging issues of grave concern.

Noting that such instances are not good signs for the indigenous society, Sarma said: “Whoever considers themselves to be Indian citizens, must think of setting up a resistance socially and politically against such elements.”

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs and leaders in Assam have also asked the state government to demolish the museum that showcases the culture of migrant Muslims.

BJP legislator Prasanta Phukan had first demanded the state government pull down the newly inaugurated museum.

Former BJP MLA, Shiladitya Dev, who is also the chairperson of the Assam Linguistic Minority Development Board, urged the state government to take stronger action against the museum and the people set up it.

However, supporting the “Miyan Museum”, Congress MLA from southern Assam’s Karimganj North constituency, Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha said: “There is a need to preserve the culture and identity of the large number of Bengalis who vote in Assam.”Former Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed earlier proposed setting up of a “Miyan Museum” in Guwahati’s Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra.

The Assam Chief Minister had rejected that proposal.

The Kalakshetra, popular with tourists, showcases the cultural heritage of multi-ethnic Assam.

In the “Miyan Museum”, set up by the Asom Miyan (Asomiya) Parishad, traditional farming and domestic items made from wood and bamboo among others were displayed.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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