Ethnic group criticizes its attempt to notify them as native Assamese Muslims

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Appeals to the recommendation of the BJP-led government’s panel of experts to separate Assamese-speaking Muslims from Bengali-speaking Muslims

A predominantly Muslim ethnic group has criticized the BJP-led government of Assam’s decision to notify Assamese Muslims as a separate indigenous community.

The decision, based on the recommendations of a panel the state government set up in July 2021, aims to identify part of the Assamese by their religion and not by their ethnicity, Sadou Asom Goria said on Wednesday. Jatiya Parishad (SAGJP).

Goria is one of the generalized subgroups of people as Assamese Muslims. The others are Syed, Moria, Deshi and Julha.

These communities have been categorized according to Muslims, who either settled in Assam or converted from other communities since the 13 and century. The Deshi and Julha people, for example, converted from the Rajbongshi and Adivasi communities or “tea tribes”.

“The Panel on Indigenous Assamese Muslims consisting of seven sub-committees, in its July 21 report submitted to the government, suggested community notification. This is essentially flawed and divisive since our history makes no reference to Assamese Muslims, said SAGJP President Moinul Islam.

Assamese society was not established on the basis of religion, he said.

“There are no Assamese Muslims, just as there is no Assamese Hindu or Assamese Christian community. The government is trying to erase the ethnic identity of the Goria-Moria people and impose the religious identity on them, which is unconstitutional,” said Mir Arif Iqbal Hussain, secretary general of the organisation.

The SAGJP said the label “Assamese Muslim” would cause some members of the Goria community, who follow other faiths, to lose their ethnic identity. He cited the example of Azizul Haque, a priest of a Baptist church in Guwahati.

Critics of the plan to inform Assamese Muslims say it is an attempt to separate Assamese-speaking Muslims from Bengali-speaking or ethnic Bengali Muslims, who are considered ‘Bangladeshis’ or ‘illegal migrants’. ” in Assam. Assamese-speaking Muslims make up about 4% of the total Muslim population of Assam.

According to the 2011 census, Muslims make up just under 35% of Assam’s total population.

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