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

Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed had proposed the museum reflecting the culture and heritage of people living on sandbars with reference to a recommendation by a panel of legislators

Published - October 28, 2020 01:27 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

The bank of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. File

The bank of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. File

The Bharatiya Janata Party in poll-bound Assam has said it will not allow any museum on culture and heritage of the people living on ‘char-chaporis’ to be set up at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, the showcase of Assamese culture in Guwahati named after a 15th-16th century Vaishnavite saint-reformer.

‘Char’ in Assamese means sandbar while ‘chapori’ is flood-prone riverbank.

“Why should a ‘char-chapori’ museum be established at the Kalakshetra? No community barring the minorities live on the ‘chars’ and all of us know where most of them are from,” State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass told journalists on Tuesday.

“Under no circumstances will the BJP allow such a museum that may hurt the self-esteem of the Assamese people,” he added while accusing Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed of triggering the controversy for polarising the people on religious lines.

Mr. Dass defended the BJP legislators who were part of the 16 members of the Departmentally Related Standing Committee (DRSC) that had recommended the museum in its report to the Assembly on March 24. The committee headed by AGP lawmaker Utpal Dutta had six MLAs of the BJP.

“Only five of the MLAs were present at the DRSC meeting, which anyway can only make recommendations that are not binding on the government,” Mr. Dass pointed out.

He also said the DRSC did not mention any ‘Miya Museum’ that Mr. Ahmed referred to in his posts and interviews.

“The Congress MLA used the term because his party wants to create a controversy,” Mr. Dass said.

But the newly-formed Asom Jatiya Parishad slammed the BJP for stoking a controversy over the museum after its own MLAs had been part of the panel that had recommended it. “This is damage control to save face,” said former BJP leader and AJP coordinator Jagadish Bhuyan.

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