An Assam MLA was arrested and booked for sedition on Tuesday for allegedly making communal statements in an audio clip and sharing it on social media, the police said.
Aminul Islam, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA from Dhing constituency in Nagaon district, purportedly said in the audio clip that quarantine centres in Assam are “worse” than the state’s detention centres for undocumented migrants. He also alleged that the government is “conspiring” against Muslims and putting those associated with the Tablighi Jamaat into isolation. According to the clip, he alleged that the state could kill a person in quarantine and then say that the person died “due to coronavirus”.
The police said Aminul has confessed to having made the remarks. His party AIUDF condemned the statement and distanced itself from it.
The police received a complaint on Monday evening about the audio clip. Aminul was interrogated, and subsequently arrested around 1 am Tuesday. He is under judicial custody. The police have informed the Assembly Speaker about the developments.
Nagaon SP Gaurav Abhijit Dilip said: “The clip was also on his mobile phone, and he accepted that he forwarded it to many people.”
Dilip said: “The clip is highly communal and questions the secular fabric of the Indian state. He has been booked under several Sections of the IPC — 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity), 124A (sedition) and 295A (act intended to outrage religious feelings, etc) — and Sections of the Disaster Management Act.”
AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam said, “It is highly unfortunate that our party’s legislator made such a statement when the whole world and the nation is fighting against this virus… The law will take its own course.” But, he added, the law is equal for all — “even for political leaders who are allegedly making comments targeting Muslims over the Tablighi Jamaat event”.
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