Ground report: Protests erupt in Assam after portrayal of Muslims as criminals in rally by Bodoland University

Protests have arisen after a cultural procession organised by its Department of Geography at the Bodoland University in Kokrajhar, Assam had depicted Muslims as criminals in their rally. Protestors demand an investigation, say student statement is not ‘enough.’

Protests have erupted by various organisations in the state after a rally by the Bodoland University depicted people dressed up as Muslims being escorted by police. The All BTR Minority Students Union (ABMSU), All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) and North East Minority Students Union (NEMSU) held a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor of Bodoland University (BU), Dr. Babulal Ahuja to discuss the matter. They submitted a memorandum urging a thorough investigation into this unfortunate incident and advocating for disciplinary actions against those involved.

The incident took place on March 16 where a cultural event intended as a celebration of Bodo Legendary Heroes during the university’s 23rd varsity week and Thulunga Festival was being held. However, a viral video showed a stage act where two people were dressed in Muslim attire, with beards and skull caps, and also had their hands bound. They are being walked in the rally behind a man reportedly dressed up as a policeman. The two dressed up people are shown to be beaten up by police personnel in the video of the rally.


In an exclusive telephonic interview with Sabrang India, the vice-president of Citizens Rights Preservation Committee (CRPC) and former Professor Taijuddin Ahmed said that it was a rehearsal and warned the people to be cautious. “It is a motivated conspiracy and a rehearsal.”

He explained, “When this vulnerable minority community was attacked and riots took place since 1993, 1994, 2008, 2012 and 2014, prior to this kind of rehearsals also happened.” He condemned, “it was portrayed in the cultural rally that Muslim is a criminal community and it’s highly condemnable and should not happen in such a higher educational institution.” “It’s not possible without the cooperation of University administration to conduct such offensive act in the university premises.” He doubted. “I want the rise of communal atmosphere in the university premises to go down and instead, the university should focus on the educational curriculum with freedom of thought and expression.

Chief Convenor of Forum for Social Harmony, Harkumar Goswami spoke to Sabrang India as well, blaming the government, “This incident is part of the way the ruling group is spreading hatred all around. Their silence made it clear what they wanted.”

He continued, “Be aware that these hatreds do not bleed into the BTR (Bodoland Territorial Region) or Assam again by falling prey to political intrigues. At the same time, people must throw away fascism, which is creating this atmosphere of hatred.” He added, “An important institution like the university cannot be allowed to be compromised in any way by the communal forces. There should be an investigation into the scandalous incident.”

Conversely, Professor Dr. Rituraj Kalita told Sabrang India, “This is not to enough to condemn on the horrific portrayal of the ill-minded incident in the cultural procession of Bodoland University! Naturally, the question comes to mind -Who and how turned this beautiful Assam into such a hellhole?”

Meanwhile, the university’s Students’ Union have rendered an apology after the incident. They have claimed that the rally was meant to portray various social realities under the theme “We and Our Society”, and did not mean to harm anyone. The press release states, “We emphasise that there was no intention to marginalise or disparage any community. Our primary objective was to illustrate the present societal landscapes, irrespective of any community affiliations.”

However, protestors say this is not enough. Zahid Ahmed, Leader of All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) BTR Region, in a telephonic interview with Sabrang India, saying, “This is not a part of any cultural program, it was only to demonise one particular community.” The Central Committee of AAMSU has reportedly met with the University Administration and submitted a memorandum with some demands, “We asked for a proper investigation into the matter along with those culprits. Whether it is students or even any professor involved with it she or he has to come under the investigation.” On being asked about the present political scenario, and whether this incident is a part of it, he confirms it, “Undoubtedly it’s a part of hate which is going around India. We suspect it has a political conspiracy behind it.”

He also expressed that the clarification from the student body is not satisfactory as according to him, they don’t feel sorry or condemn the act.

In a press interaction All BTR Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU) President Taison Hussain condemns this incident and said, “We have met the Vice-Chancellor and claimed for a proper investigation because it was clearly violating the section 153(A) of Indian Constitution and it tried to divide society in the name of religion.”

Similarly, Khairul Islam (Bubu), Kokrajhar District Organising General Secretary of Assam Pradesh Congress expressed to Sabrang India, “It’s an act to deceive the Muslim community. Even after several complaints from various groups no action has been taken against the perpetrators.” He blamed the current UPPL allied with BJP running the BTR government for not taking any action on the terrible act. ” He added, “Regional parties like UPPL (United People’s Party Liberal) who are running the BTR with BJP have not spoken against it yet.”

“The Government has failed to take any action since the incidents occurred on the 16th of this month till today.” He continued,” Brahmananda Basumatary in-acted awful action is a worker of All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), a student union in the BTR Region with the support of the UPPL. “We have seen that ABSU has helped UPPL in every election and still act like a student wing of the UPPL political party.” He claimed.

He also further expressed, “The BJP and UPPL government is trying to create communal disharmony and trying to implement their divide and rule policy for their political advantage.”

Yesterday, March 18, Sabrang India had carried this report:
Bigotry On Display: Muslims Shown As Criminals In Bodoland University’s Cultural Event



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