The Goalpara district administration on Tuesday sealed the controversial private Miya Museum at Dapkarbhita in Lakhipur area of the lower Assam district, and the founders Mohar Ali of Goalpara and Abdul Baten of Dhubri have been detained. Assam police have said that further investigation and interrogation would be carried out about their association with AQIS (Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent)/ABT (Ansarullah Bangla Team).
Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party legislators had asked the state government to pull down the museum that purportedly showcased the culture of Bengali migrant Muslims in the district. The Miya Museum was inaugurated on Sunday but it was soon surrounded by controversies as it showcased the culture of Bengali Muslims who have settled in Assam since the late 1890s.
Speaking to the media, Rajiv Gogoi, Circle Officer, Lakhipur Circle, Goalpara, said, “The person who was allocated this house by the government didn’t stay here and instead used the house for the Miya Museum. That’s why we have sealed the house.”
News18 earlier spoke to Mohar Ali. “I do cultural research in one of my rooms. The government has any objection and they can seize the items. But I am sad they have made me homeless. I have opened the museum here, the government had allocated me this house as I was in BPL (below poverty line category). This is an injustice and I request the chief minister to help,” he said.
Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that such activities by some members of the Miya community posed a threat to the “Assamese identity”. “What is this museum, I don’t understand,” he said. “All they have shown is our Assamese people’s ancestral things. The plough that they have shown is ours. There is nothing new about it except the lungi. They have to prove that the plough they have showcased in the museum is not ours but of the miyas. The gamusa they have showcased is ours…If such things of our identity are wrongly used, they will have to face the court. The self-proclaimed intellectuals of the state should think about this. Because when I opposed miya poetry, they said I was being communal. Now you see miya school, miya museum, and whatnot…It’s time to think. Minorities have become the majority in the state.”
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