News & Information From Northeast India

Indigenous Muslims of Assam face identity crisis, don’t want religious identity

The indigenous Muslims of Assam have appealed to the government and the people in general not to link their identity with their religion. At least 16 organizations representing various indigenous Muslim communities met in Guwahati on Monday said that their ethnicity should be their identity.

“We want to be the part in the process of creating greater Assamese society. Just like any other communities in the state, we too want us to be identified and addressed with our ethnic identity rather than the religious faith. We are like any other indigenous tribe or community in the state. All the representatives of indigenous Muslim communities have also decided that we don’t want ‘Muslim’ to be used when we are being identified,” said Syed Muminul Aowal, chairman of Assam Minorities Development Board.

Goria, Moria, Deshi and Jolha among others were present during their meeting.

“We oppose the general practice to bring all the Muslims under one platform. Everyone of us have separate identities. This is a secular country and why should we give our identities with the religious line,” Aowal added.

They have appreciated the state government for taking initiatives for the betterment of the indigenous Muslims of the state. They have also appealed for an error-free survey of the indigenous Muslims of the state.

“We thank the state government for the initiative to form a co-operation for the communities. At the same time, we also appeal for an error-free survey on the indigenous Muslims of the state. We want all the members of the indigenous communities should be covered in the survey,” said Aowal.

The meeting has also demanded for a development council for the Deshi community, a group of indigenous Muslims, mostly habitants of Goalpara and Dhubri districts of the state. On the implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord which is the constitutional safeguard, they didn’t want any cut-off date.

“Apart from that, we have decided to send a proposal to the government regarding the constitutional safeguard. We will ask the government that the constitutional safeguard shouldn’t be on the basis of any cut-off year but it should be for the indigenous tribes and communities of the state,” Aowal said.

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