The BJP-led government headed by Sarbananda Sonowal was harassing a section of intellectuals of the state for recently taking part in a meeting where Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Maulana Syed Arshad Madani had made some controversial remarks, Debabrata Saikia, Leader of the Opposition, alleged here on Saturday.
“There is no prima facie evidence of the six intellectuals of the state endorsing or even agreeing with maulana Madani’s comments. (Yet) cases have been registered against them in different police stations,” Saikia, senior leader of the Congress party, in a statement said. Saikia said that prompt decision of the police to interrogate them stood out as a glaring example of the BJP-led government’s “undemocratic tendencies”, he said.
Saikia’s statement came in the wake of registration of at least three FIRs against leading Assam intellectual Hiren Gohain by some individuals accusing him of being party to Jamiat chief Maulana Madani’s alleged threat last Monday of creating violence in case names of large number of Muslims were left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) currently under preparation in Assam.
Maulana Arshad Madani, the Jamiat chief had last Monday reportedly said in a seminar in New Delhi that there would be large-scale violence in Assam if names of several lakh Muslims were left out of the NRC. He had allegedly used words like “maarenge, marenge,” “aag lagegi” and “qatl honge” apart from saying that Assam would become another Myanmar if names of Muslims were left out.
“In a democratic set-up, how can you spread the blame to others for views expressed by a specific person in a public forum? This is blatant misuse of power and an attempt by the government to harass and intimidate its critics,” the Leader of the Opposition said.
Saikia also accused the BJP-led government of maintaining “double standards” and showing “dictatorial tendencies” by not taking action against some of its own leaders had recently allegedly made communally inflammatory statements.
Leading Assam intellectual Hiren Gohain, former ‘Asomiya Pratidin’ editor Haider Hussain, retired Gauhati University professor Abdul Mannan, former North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) professor Apurba Kumar Barua and former journalist Manjit Mahanta have been facing flak for having been on the dias when the Jamiat chief had made certain provocative statements and allegedly not raising a voice of protest.
A police team has meanwhile left for New Delhi to carry out preliminary investigations about the people who had organized Monday’s seminar in the Constitution Club, while the police in Guwahati have already taken statements of Haider Hussain and Manjit Mahanta in connection with the cases.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who refrained from directly mentioning Maulana Madani’s name, on the other hand complained that some sections were out to disrupt the process of NRC preparation. “People who try to scuttle the NRC process are enemies of the state,” Sonowal recently said.
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