3 Held for Setting up Muslim Museum in Assam

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GUWAHATI – One more individual has been detained by the Assam Police in connection with setting up of a private “Miya Museum” by Muslims in the state’s Goalpara district which was sealed on Tuesday by the authorities, an official said on Wednesday.

Tanu Dhadumia, a leader of Asom Miyan (Asomiya) Parishad was apprehended, taking the number of persons detained in the matter so far to three, the police said.

A police officer on Wednesday said that Dhadumia — a resident of Namrup in Dibrugarh district, was detained late on Tuesday night, and is being questioned.

He said investigation has been underway to find and verify if the three detainees had any association with Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), an affiliate of the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) terror group.

The Assam Police on Tuesday had detained two leaders — Mohar Ali and Abdul Baten of the Asom Miyan (Asomiya) Parishad soon after the Goalpara district administration sealed the private “Miya Museum”.

The museum was sealed by the district authorities on Tuesday after Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma raised questions on its funding.

Assam’s Special Director General of Police G.P. Singh in separate tweets said that further investigation and interrogation being carried out about the detained individuals’ association with AQIS and ABT.

A strict vigilance is being maintained, particularly in the minority-dominated areas of western and central Assam over the activities of the AQIS and ABT.

The “Miya Museum” was inaugurated in Dapkarbhita area in western Assam’s Goalpara district on Sunday.

The term “Miya” is used mostly by the indigenous communities to refer to Bengali or Bengal-origin Muslims who have settled on both sides of the Brahmaputra river in Assam since the late 1890s after the British brought them for commercial farming and other work.

A notice of Lakhipur Revenue Circle, pasted at the door of the “Miya Museum”, read: “As per the direction of the DC, this PMAY-G house of Mohar Ali, S/O Somesh Ali of village Dapkarbhita is hereby closed until further order.”

The Chief Minister said that the police would initiate a probe into the source of funding for setting up the “Miya Museum”.

“Those who set up the Miya Museum would have to answer the government’s queries, failing which legal action would be initiated against them,” Sarma told the media.

In the “Miya Museum”, set up by the Asom Miyan (Asomiya) Parishad, traditional farming and domestic items made from wood and bamboo among others were displayed.

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