Assam Cabinet decides to notify Indigenous identity to 5 Assamese Muslims Communities
File Pic of Indigenous Assamese Muslim during a Iftar party.

Guwahati: Government of Assam’s weekly cabinet held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma decided to notify five Muslim communities – Goria, Moria, Deshi, Syed and Jolha – as indigenous Assamese Muslim communities.

The move will ensure their development in cultural identity, health, education, financial inclusion, women empowerment and skill development. This has obviously in paper segregated them from Bengali-speaking Muslims of Assam who had essentially migrated from East Bengal.

Assam government, after discussion with Muslim intellectuals last year, had decided to form eight sub committees to lay down a roadmap for holistic development of the community in next five years. The committees submitted their report to the chief minister, who was engaged in discussions with 150 indigenous Muslim intellectuals. The eight sub-groups submitted their reports on health, education, population stabilisation, cultural identity, financial inclusion and skill development.

Indigenous Assamese Muslim women performing a dance form. File Pic – Samsul Huda Patgiri

These communities have been classified based on those who either settled in Assam or converted from other communities since the 13th Century. The Deshi and Jolha people, for instance, converted from the Rajbongshi and the Adivasi or “tea tribe” communities.

File Pic of Indigenous Assamese Muslims sit in demonstration in Guwahati in support of their various demands.

The panel on indigenous Assamese Muslims comprising seven sub-committees said Muslims comprise 34% of the 3.12 crore population of Assam, of which 4% are indigenous Assamese Muslims and the remaining are mostly Bengali-speaking Muslims.

The BJP-led government in Assam had earlier proposed the creation of a development board for indigenous Muslim communities of Goria, Moria, Deshi and Jolah in its July 21 report last year submitted to the government.

Also read: Assam: Droupadi Murmu to meet NDA MPs, MLAs over presidential poll

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