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File image: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said he has instructed officials to register a criminal case against the writer of a book, which is critical of the medieval age saint-scholar Srimanta Sankardeva who is revered as an icon in the state.

The issue was raised by the Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia during the Zero Hour in Assam Assembly and sought a ban on two books critical of Sankardeva. The writer of one book has already died.

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“Please ban the anti-Sankardeva books in the interest of the Assamese community. These two books questioned the ideology of Srimanta Sankardeva,” the Congress member said.

Reacting to the demand, Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio, told the House that writings of the two books cannot diminish the iconic stature of Sankardeva.

“I have already instructed (officials) to lodge a case under Section 153 of the IPC (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) against the writer,” he added.

The chief minister informed the House that the Assam government cannot ban a book as it does not have the power to do so.

The two books are ‘Sankar Bibhrat’ by Shrikanta Devsarma and ‘Sankar Bibhrat: Protibador Prothom Khoj’ by Achyut Kashyap. Devsarma is no more alive.

Srimanta Sankardeva is an Assamese saint-scholar, social-religious reformer, poet, playwright and a towering figure in the cultural and religious history of Assam from the 15th-16th century.


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