Assam: FIR Against 10 People For Writing Poem On Citizenship Issue
Assam police registered an FIR against 10 people after receiving a complaint about a poem on the contentious citizenship issue in the state, reported The Indian Express. The accused have been charged under sections 420 (punishment for cheating) and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Copyright Act, 1957.
“Poem Depicts Xenophobic Representation Of Assamese People”
Deputy Commissioner of Police Dharmendra Kr Das confirming the news said that an FIR has been registered but no arrests have been made yet.
In the complaint, Pranabjit Doloi, referring to a poem written by Kazi Sharowar Hussein, said that the poem depicts a ‘xenophobic representation of Assamese people’.
“The accused person’s intention is to depict a picture of Assamese people as xenophobic in the eyes of the whole world, which [is] a serious threat to the Assamese people, as well as, towards the national security and harmonious social atmosphere,” read the complaint by Pranabjit. “The real intention of this poem is to motivate and provoke their community against the system,” it further said. The poem by Kazi Sharowar Hussein, based on which the complaint was filed, was published by Al Jazeera last month.
The people named in the FIR include Ashraful Hussain, Hafiz Ahmed, Rehna Sultana, Abdul Rahim, Kazi Sharowar Hussein, Shalim M Hussain, Karishma Hazarika, Abdul Kalam Azad, Banamallika Choudhary and Farhad Bhuyan. These poets have written several poems voicing their opinion on the implementation of the citizenship bill.
Reacting on the complaint, activist Abdul Kalam Azad, who has been named in the FIR, asked, “Do we not have the right to write a poem on genuine citizens being marked Doubtful voters or being sent to detention camps?”
Accused Are Bengal-Origin Muslim
Most of accused are Bengal-origin Muslim poets and activists and write in a local dialect referred to as Miyah dialect.
The meaning of Miyah has a differing meaning based on where it is used. In Bengali, Miyah means a “gentleman”, however, it is used as a derogatory term for ‘immigrant’ Muslims in Assam. For Bengali Muslims, Miyah poetry is a medium for expression against injustice and discrimination.
Miyah dialect, for its nature and impact to a certain community, has received criticism from a number of Assamese public intellectuals including Hiren Gohain.