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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Assam Congress chief pulls up MLA who set off museum row

State Congress president Ripun Bora, in an October 28 missive, told Ahmed that his letter to the Museums Director was “in perfect order” and that he had done his “duty as an MLA”.

Written by Abhishek Saha | Guwahati | October 31, 2020 1:27:45 am
Srimanata Sankardeva Kalakshetra. (Source: Facebook/@SrimantaSankardevKalakshetra · Arts & Entertainment)

The chief of the Assam Congress has written a stern letter to the party legislator behind the controversial letter on a museum showcasing the culture of riverine areas, asking him to exercise restraint in his comments on the issue as it was providing unwanted ballast to the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.

MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed had on October 18 written to the Assam Director of Museums, requesting him to “expedite” the process of establishing a “museum reflecting the culture and heritage of the people living in Char-Chaporis of Assam in the premises of the Srimanata Sankardeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati”, as recommended by a committee in March.

The Kalakshetra is a prestigious cultural institute in Assam named after Vaishnavite reformer Sankaradeva. “Char-Chaporis” refer to the riverine sand belts of the Brahmaputra that are populated mostly by Muslims of Bengali-origin, a community which is colloquially—and disparagingly—referred to as “miya” in Assam. People from other communities, too, reside in such areas.

State Congress president Ripun Bora, in an October 28 missive, told Ahmed that his letter to the Museums Director was “in perfect order” and that he had done his “duty as an MLA”.

“But the recent controversy arose due to your reaction and statement made in media for a miya museum which was out of the content of your above letter,” Bora wrote.

He added: “You may refer my tele-conversation with you on 26th October, 2020 on the above issue and my suggestion to refrain from further making any statement or reaction. But despite that you have been repeatedly hammering the same matter which has given BJP and RSS (an opportunity) to make serious controversy by dragging the name of our Congress party.”

“Your such statement at this critical juncture on the eve of upcoming Assembly Election is totally unwanted,” Bora further said.

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