Assam Congress warns party MLA on ‘Miya Museum’

Sherman Ali Ahmed has been asked not to stoke the controversy that has given the BJP a scope for polarising the people

Updated - October 30, 2020 11:45 am IST

Published - October 30, 2020 11:36 am IST - GUWAHATI

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora in a letter to the MLA asked him to refrain from making “any further controversial statement” on the issue.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora in a letter to the MLA asked him to refrain from making “any further controversial statement” on the issue.

The Congress in Assam has asked its MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed to desist from pursuing the setting up of a museum reflecting the culture and heritage of the people living in ‘char-chaporis’ of the State.

‘Char’ in Assamese means sandbar while ‘chapori’ is flood-prone riverbank. These areas are associated with migrant Muslims of Bengali origin who are viewed as ‘Bangladeshis’.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora in a letter to the MLA asked him to refrain from making “any further controversial statement” on the issue that had given the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a scope for polarising the people with “disinformation campaign and propaganda”.

Also read |Will not allow ‘Miya Museum’ in Assam, says BJP

Mr. Ali represents the Congress from the Baghbor Assembly constituency in western Assam’s Barpeta district. He had earlier won the seat on an All India United Democratic Front ticket.

Mr. Bora reminded Mr. Ali of having told him on October 26 to refrain from issuing any statement or reaction on setting up a “museum for Miya culture” at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, the showcase of Assamese culture in Guwahati.

“But you have been repeatedly hammering the same matter which has given the BJP and the RSS (the opportunity) to make serious controversy by dragging the name of our Congress party. Your statements at this critical juncture on the eve of upcoming Assembly election are totally unwanted,” the State Congress president said.

Panel’s recommendation

Mr. Ali had in a letter on October 18 asked Assam’s Director of Museums to follow up the March 24 recommendation of a 16-member panel of MLAs to set up a museum within the Kalakshetra complex for reflecting the culture and heritage of the people living in the ‘char-chaporis’.

Mr. Bora told Mr. Ali that reminding the Director of Museums about the recommendation “was in perfect order” and “you did your duty as an MLA”.

“But the recent controversy arose due to your reaction and statement made in the media for a Miya Museum which was out of the content of your above letter,” he wrote in his letter to the MLA.

Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass have said allowing the “Miya Museum” would be tantamount to distorting the culture propagated by 15-16th saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva.

Political opponents and NGOs have, however, pointed out the committee that recommended the museum included six BJP legislators and was headed by an MLA of the Asom Gana Parishad, the BJP’s ally.

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