Five days after she appealed to people to join a rally to protest atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Benazir Arfan, executive member of the BJP’s State Mazdoor Morcha on was Monday expelled from the party for flouting the party line on the issue. “Benazir Arfan has been expelled after she failed to give any satisfactory reply to the show cause notice she was served last Thursday on why disciplinary action should not be taken against her for organizing a rally over the Rohingya Muslim issue in Guwahati without bringing the matter to the party forum,” Dilip Saikia, general secretary of the Assam state BJP unit said.
Saikia said the Disciplinary Action Committee of the state BJP which met here on Monday discussed in detail the activities and social media posts of Benazir Arfan, and decided to expel her with immediate effect. The four-member disciplinary action committee meeting comprised among others of senior leader Manoj Ram Phukan and Bijan Mahajan.
“Benazir Arfan had last week convened a rally in Guwahati to protest against the atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar without seeking any permission of the party or raising the matter first in the party forum. Moreover, she had also mentioned about an organization under whose banner the protest rally was convened, which is not part of the BJP. The BJP and the central government have a definite stand on the Rohingya Muslim issue, and there cannot be any deviation from that. But she clearly flouted the party line, necessitating such a drastic action,” Saikia told The Indian Express.
Saikia also said this was not the first time she had attracted disciplinary action from the party. “She is in the habit of going public on various issues instead of raising those in the appropriate forums of the party,” Saikia said.
Benazir Arfan, a civil engineer by profession, who had joined the BJP in 2015 and contested in the Jania assembly constituency in Barpeta district in the 2016 Assam elections, is an executive member of the State BJP Mazdoor Morcha. She had polled 6055 votes in the 2016 election against 86,930 by Abdul Khaleque of the Congress and 57,145 by Rafiqul Islam of the AIUDF.
Benazir Arfan on her part alleged that a conspiracy was going on against her in the state BJP which finally succeeded in throwing her out of it. “I had joined the party with high hopes. I was happy that the party gave me a ticket to contest the 2016 assembly election, which I however lost. But the moment I started raising my voice against injustice within the party, I have been pushed to the corner with a well-drawn conspiracy,” she told The Indian Express.
She said she had begun attracting the wrath of senior party leaders after she first pointed at why a particular woman was given several posts. “Everybody was okay with me till I raised my voice against a woman getting a number of posts and responsibilities in the party as well as the government. This time round I was served a show cause notice for helping an NGO called United Muslim People’s Forum which was trying to organize a prayer meeting for Rohingyas in Myanmar,” she said. “Yes, it is true that I have expressed concern over the happenings in Myanmar. But, if you see my Facebook posts, you will find that I am equally concerned about both Hindus and Muslims there,” she added.
Expressing surprise over her expulsion on Monday evening, Arfan (31) said though she had sent her reply to the show-cause notice, she was not given the opportunity to be heard. “I should have been summoned to the disciplinary action committee and given the opportunity to defend myself. How could they expel me ex parte?” Arfan asked.