Assam: ‘Miya Museum’ closed down, followed by arrests of 5 Muslims

On Wednesday, the Assam Police apprehended five people after a “Miya Museum” honouring the state’s Muslims of Bengali heritage was sealed. Antiques from the “Miya” people’s daily lives were on display in the museum. As a result of the museum’s establishment in a dwelling provided to it as part of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin programme, the local government decided to close it down in the state’s Goalpara district.

The term “Miya” or “Miyan” has long been used to describe Bengali-descent Muslims in Assam. Beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing until the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Muslims from Eastern Bengal (modern-day Bangladesh) came in waves to the char-chaporis, or low-lying flood plains and islets, of Assam.

Few hours after the closure of the museum Mahar Ali, Abdul Baten, and Tanu Kumar Dhadumiya were arrested at their houses in the respective districts of Goalpara, Dhubri, and Dibrugarh. On the same day, two others, Sadek Ali and Jekibul Ali were also taken into custody on similar charges.

The arrests were made in connection with a case filed at a police station in the Nalbari district. they will be questione about affiliations to Ansarullah Bangla Team and Al-Qaeda, the police tweeted.

Assam Police have detained around 40 terror suspects connected to the Ansarullah Bangla Team. Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma questioned how the “Miya” could be considered a separate ethnic group. He stated, “Is there any community in the name of Miya?”.

Sherman Ali Ahmed, a former Congress MLA, first proposed the idea for the museum in 2015. The Museum was set by Mohar Ali the president of an organisation called the Asom-Miyan (Asomiya) Parishad, had set up the museum at his home in lower Assam’s Goalpara district. He said that the museuem was opened for the purpose of preserving and showcasing Miya culture, traditional farming equipment such as the plough, gamusas (traditional hand-woven clothing), and bamboo fishing equipment.

He further said, “There is no anti-national activity going on here. Rather it is an attempt by the Miya people to strengthen the Assamese community further.”

The lungi was the only item that belonged to the Miyas, according to the chief minister of the state, Himanta Biswa Sarma, he said that the rest of the objects were utilized by the entire Assamese community. The CM had also denied ‘Miya poetry’ in 2019 and was termed ‘sectarian’ by intellectuals.

Source- Two


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