Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday that those who were forcibly converted to Islam during the Mughal period can get the status of indigenous persons if they return to their “original identity”.
Sarma made the announcement while speaking in the state Assembly about the initiatives his government has taken to secure land rights for indigenous communities.
“Islam didn’t arrive in India that early,” the chief minister said. “But if you seek indigenous status based on the community before you were converted, then you will get indigenous tag. Many did not convert based on their wishes but because of [the fear of 17-century Mughal emperor] Aurangzeb’s sword and so they should return.”
Sarma said that landless migrant Muslims or Bengali-origin Muslims will not get land titles under Mission Basundhara – an Assam government initiative to update land records and make land revenue services accessible to citizens. The initiative is based on a policy from 2019 on allocating land to landless “indigenous” people.
This story was originally published in scroll.in. Read the full story here.