Assam: Congress-BJP Spar Over Char Chapori Museum Row | Assam News

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Assam: BJP Accuse Congress of Polarizing Voters Over Char Museum Issue

Nibir Deka | October 28, 2020 14:22 hrs

Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has opposed the establishment of the Char Chapori Museum in Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati.  


"There is no separate identity-and culture in Char Anchal of Assam as most of the people had migrated from Bangladesh. Obviously, in Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakhetra, which is the epitome of Assamese culture, we will not allow any distortion," Sarma posted on Twitter. 


He further emphasized that "Assam government will not allow Miya museum in Kalakshetra."


The statements of Sarma came after Assam Congress MLA Sherman Ali wrote a letter to the Directorate of Museums, Assam to expedite the process of setting up the Museum.  The letter was written by the Congress MLA pointing out a reference from 'Recommendation of DRSC on Education, 2021 in its 47th Report on Art and Culture'. 


Earlier, A Departmentally Related Standing Committee (DRSC) on Education, 2020-21 in its minutes had stated to Directorate of Museums to establish "one museum reflecting the culture and heritage of the people living in the Char-Chaporis of Assam shall be established at Shrimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, Guwahati."


The DRSC had 15 members, out of which eight are members of the ruling alliance of AGP and BJP. The other MLAs include three from Congress and two each from All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Bodoland People's Front (BPF). 


As such Himanta Biswa Sarma's objection to the move has been questioned by the opposition Congress who have termed it as an attempt to raise an issue before the elections. 


"The ruling party members were themselves present," Debabrata Saikia, Leader of Opposition (LoP) told media persons. 


He highlighted that Char Chapori doesn't mean Miya Civilisation only. "There are more than 2000 Char areas. Different communities and indigenous people including Nepalis also belong to it. Yes, in lower Assam, the prevalence is more of Muslims," added Saikia. 


He further criticised the issue as an election strategy. "The statements made are wrong. There are many development works that are needed to be done and those should be given more importance," said Saikia. 


Meanwhile, Ranjit Kumar Das State BJP President has responded to the matter claiming that "the Congress is scared of losing votes in lower Assam and hence they have played the religious card to polarise voters." 


He also stated that "only 5 members were present at the meeting when the recommendation was made." 


He clarified that the report tabled by the standing committee has no mention of the word 'Miya' and even then the recommendation is not binding on the government. 


Amid the controversy, the Standing Committee might review the decision to establish the Char Chapori museum in Kalakshetra. The DRSC has revealed that the recommendation was passed on without their notice. 


G Plus spoke to Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MLA Utpal Dutta, Chairman of the committee who revealed that he was not present in the meeting when the minutes of the conversation as recorded were stated. 


"I was in Lakhimpur and during that time some member might have said that. Even if some member says something, that doesn’t become the final decision. Many MLAs speak different things and we take resolutions," said Dutta. 


Another MLA Rupak Sarmah from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that the recommendation was “just noted down”. "It is a standing committee and the decision is not binding on the government. If anyone gives a statement that is noted down," Sarmah told G Plus. 


On the issue of whether he opposed it when it was made, he also said, "I was not present at that time".


One of the members on anonymity told G Plus, "We will review it, maybe."

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