Assam: Himanta Sarma clarifies on recognition of indigenous Muslim Communities

Five Muslim communities in Assam will soon be offered the status of 'indigenous communities'

Guwahati: A day after the Assam cabinet approved the identification of five Assamese Muslim sub-groups, Gorias, Moriyas, Jolhas, Deshis and Syeds as indigenous Assamese Muslim communities, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that other Muslims are Assamese too and shouldn’t worry.

In a conversation with ANI today, Assam chief minister said, “Khilonjia Muslims have lived for 100 yrs in Assam. They were concerned about losing their indigenous identity after migrated Muslims came to the state.”

“That is why we declared them as indigenous Assamese Muslims. Other Muslims are Assamese too and shouldn’t worry,” Assam Chief Minister Sarma said.

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Five Muslim communities in Assam will soon be offered the status of “indigenous communities” to protect their identity against the large Bengali-speaking Muslim population. The BJP-led government, in its cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening, approved the proposal to offer “indigenous community” status to Goria, Moria, Deshi, Jolah tea tribe and Sayeed communities, in view of their long demand for the same.

“At our weekly Assam Cabinet, we took several decisions pertaining to the scrapping of old vehicles, identification of 5 indigenous Muslim groups, exempting ex-servicemen & their widows from paying property tax, boosting renewable energy, and improving data access, etc,” Sarma tweeted.

The move came days after the BJP-led government decided to offer identity cards to six religious minority communities, Muslims (except the indigenous Muslims), Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Parsis. The government said the identity cards would be given for their “identification” and to allow them to get benefits under the schemes meant for the welfare of the minorities.

Interestingly, the state government is yet to finalise who forms the indigenous Assamese community.

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