Don’t need Miya Muslim vote: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam’s Health, Education and Finance Minister calls Muslims “very communal” and says they aspire to distort Assamese culture

Finance Minister Himanta Sarma

As the State approaches the Assembly polls, Hemant Biswa Sarma said that the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) does not need votes from the Bengali origin Muslim community in Assam to win the elections, and accused them of “openly challenging Assamese culture, language and the composite Indian culture”, as reported by the Indian Express.

Sharma further virulently attacked the community and said, “They have started identifying themselves as Miyas. These so called Miya people are very communal and fundamental and they are involved in many activities to distort Assamese culture and Assamese language. So, I don’t want to be an MLA with their vote. I will not be able to sit in the Assembly if they voted for me.”

The Minister also said that his party will not give tickets to those who identify themselves as Miya Muslims and urged the Congress to follow suit. The Indian Express reported that although the Congress has allied with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which enjoys a large support base in the Bengali-origin Muslim community, Hemant Biswa Sarma believes that this support base would not impact BJP’s poll prospects.

Sarma’s communal speech did not end here, he categorised them and said, “When we speak of Muslims in Assam, there are two types — one is the indigenous Assamese Muslims, who usually vote for the BJP and, even if they don’t vote for us, they are associated with our culture and heritage… whereas the other category is of those who do not even have their names properly in the NRC as of now.”

The Indian Express also quoted him saying, “The Assam government is waiting for the Supreme Court’s permission to initiate a fresh drive to update the NRC.” It is pertinent to observe that on January 29, the Supreme Court issued a notice to state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma on a plea filed by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind that raised questions on why the final NRC is being reverified when the entire process was carried out under the close monitoring and scrutiny of the apex court itself.


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