Assam’s Bengali-speaking Muslims not indigenous, must stop polygamy, child marriage first: Himanta Biswa Sarma (Indian Express)

Sarma had categorically said this scheme was not for “migrant Muslims” — since they are “citizens but not indigenous.”

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa

By Sukrita Baruah

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Saturday accused the state’s Bengali-speaking Muslims of perpetuating practices such as polygamy and child marriage and claimed these differentiate the community from the state’s “indigenous people”.

He was responding to a media query on a recent assertion by the All India United Democratic Front’s (AIUDF) Nagaon Lok Sabha candidate, Aminul Islam, that a large number of Bengali-speaking Muslims had settled in Assam before Partition and should be considered indigenous to the state.

“Whether miyas are indigenous or not is a separate issue. What are we saying? If miyas try to become indigenous, we have no objection to that. But child marriage will have to stop, polygamy will have to stop, they will have to send girls to school. Indigenous people have a tradition. Assamese people have a tradition. Assamese people equate girls with shakti, they love girls… There is no objection to becoming indigenous but to be indigenous you can’t marry two, three people. That is not a custom of Assamese people. If they want to be indigenous, they can’t marry off girls at age 11-12. If they want to be indigenous, instead of making children study at madrassas, make them study to be doctors and engineers,” he said.

He claimed that Bengali-speaking Muslims have occupied land belonging to satras — monasteries that are part of Assam’s neo-Vaishnavite tradition started by the saint reformer Srimanta Sankardev — and that this is contrary to “indigenous culture.”

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.

Related Articles