‘Miya’ Museum Controversy In Assam: Police Arrests 5, Evokes Terror Charges

The museum was opened by Mohor Ali at Goalpara district to showcase the cultural attributes of Bengali speaking Muslims in the state with an objective to display their similarities with the other communities.

Sealed Miya Museum, Assam

The cost of opening a museum to display the cultural attributes of Miya community bore heavily as the Police yesterday arrested the president and general secretary of Assam Miya Parishad with three others for their alleged association with terror outfits under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The arrests were made regarding the ‘Miya Museum’ that had been opened by one Mohor Ali to display the cultural attributes of community at a house that he got through Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) at Goalpara, Assam. The Museum was opened on October 23 and could survive barely two days before it was sealed by the district administration.

As per the reports of PTI, the Miya Parishad president M Mohar Ali was picked up by the police from the museum when he was sitting on a dharna, while its general secretary Abdul Baten Sheikh was taken into custody from his residence at Alamganj in Dhubri district on October 25.

The Ahom Royal Society member Tanu Dhadumia, who had inaugurated the museum was picked up from his residence in Kawamari village in Dibrugarh, the reports added.

A senior police official said that the trio were taken to Nalbari in connection with a case registered at the Ghograpar police station under various sections of the UAPA for investigation and interrogation for their alleged association with the militant outfits Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Ansarul Bangla Team (ABT).

All the five men were produced before the court. Ali, Sheikh and Dhadumia were remanded to two days in police custody, while the two others were given five days of police remand.

Earlier speaking to Outlook, Abdur Rashid Mondal, Congress MLA of Goaplara district said that this was a ‘separatist’ move by ‘social brokers’ who were sponsored by BJP.

Congress Lok Sabha MP Abdul Khaleque also told PTI, “People have the cultural right to set up a museum or library in their house, but I don't think there is any need for a community museum.” However, Khaelque added that it is unjust to arrest someone for opening a museum.

AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam told PTI that though his party is not in favour of such efforts, one has to look into the other aspects that led to the situation. “The community's members have felt humiliated over the years and this could be a reaction to their pent up frustration,” he added.

Noting that this trend is very new the MLA said, “It is only in recent years that we are hearing of things like Miya museum, schools, poetry and even demand for autonomous councils comprising Dhubri and Barpeta. These are the work of certain forces with vested interests to threaten the culture and identity of the Assamese society.”

(With PTI Inputs)

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