Guwahati (Assam) [India], November 1 (ANI): Congress MLA Sherman Ali, who had recently proposed a museum on the culture and heritage of the people living in the 'char-chaporis' in Assam, which was shot down by the state government, on Sunday said that a needless controversy was being created around the issue by the BJP.
Ali, the MLA from Baghbar constituency, said he had asked for the expedition of work on the museum on 'char-chaporis' to be set up at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati and had nowhere mentioned the word 'Miya'.
The Congress MLA claimed that it was the BJP and its allies which had passed the resolution for setting up the museum. "There was a proposal in the Standing Committee of the Assam Legislative Assembly that a museum reflecting the culture and heritage of the people living in 'char-chapori' shall be established. The word 'Miya' is nowhere mentioned," Ali said and added that he had used the word in "personal capacity."
"In the 15-member committee of the Assam Legislative Assembly, of which 10 were from the ruling party and its allies, it is the BJP which has passed the resolution in the Standing Committee. This resolution was placed in the Assembly on March 24. It is the BJP, they have two-third majority in the Assembly. Without their approval and of its allies it would have been impossible to get the nod of the Assembly," he added.
Earlier, Ali had said: "I have proposed a museum for the people living in the char-chapori areas of Assam. The museum should be established at Kalashetra in Guwahati. Since the majority of the population of these areas is from the so-called Miya (Bengali Muslim) community, therefore, the museum should be named as Miya Museum," Ali had said.
He said he had written to the director of museums of the Assam government to expedite the process of setting up the museum at the Guwahati cultural centre, which was established in the name of Vaishnavite saint and scholar Srimanta Sankardeva.
The state's Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, meanwhile, told reporters that "Assam government hereby makes it clear that no 'Miya' museum or any other such museum will be allowed to be set up in Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra. No one will establish it, not even Museum Director."
As per reports Sarma also said Ali will be sent to jail if BJP returns to power in the upcoming state poll.
Sherman Ali also questioned why the state government had not yet arrested him if he had done anything wrong. Talking to ANI, Ali said that the controversy being created around the museum issue was nothing more than part of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) politics.
"My question is why do not they arrest me now? They have two-third majority in both the Centre and Assam government, so why do they not arrest me now itself and are delaying it since seven months? They think the three crore plus population of Assam is comprised of fools. It is a part of their politics," Ali told ANI here.
He further said that the functions of judiciary and executive should remain independent and questioned the authority of Assam Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma to give such statements.
"As far as I know, he is an executive, a minister. Whether I am guilty or not will be decided by the courts. Who gave Hemanta Biswa Sarma the powers of the judiciary? He should first clarify this to the Assam residents," Ali said.
"Let the government first clarify whether a museum shall be built or not based on the recommendation of the Assembly. Then the question of venue will come, then only the question of nomenclature will come," he added.
Himanta Biswa Sarma had earlier stated that the 'Miya' museum had not been demanded by any Bengali Hindu.
"No Bengali Hindu has ever demanded Bengali museum and Standing Committee never recommended any Miya museum. Congress MLA's statement is outrageous," Sarma said. The 'char-chapori' are riverine islands that are found in the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries, mostly in lower Assam. (ANI)