An FIR was registered against ten people by the Assam police on Thursday, 12 July, after they received a complaint about a poem which addressed citizenship issues faced by certain sections in the state.
Most of them are Bengal-origin Muslim poets and they write in a dialect called ‘Miya’.
The complaint, filed by Pranabjit Doloi, claims that the poem “motivates and provokes their community against the system.” It also says the poem paints Assamese people as ‘xenophobic’.
The complaint comes weeks before the publication of the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state.
Many Twitter users reacted to the news with shock and disappointment.
Another Twitter user said, “You called Bengali Muslims ‘Miya’ for years, insulted them and now when they have turned that abuse into their strength, why are you sad? You cannot turn the insults into your strength nor your identity?”
Another Twitter user pointed out the irony and said, “The lynch mob is free while the poets will be hounded.”
“And then they came for the poets as mass murderers roam free,” said another Twitter user.
Twitter user Nikhil said, “Creation of concentration camps, disenfranchisement of millions isn't a threat to national security but a Miya poetry is.”
One Twitter user asked what the literary icons of Assam, Jyotiprasd Agarwalla and Lakshminath Bezbaroa, would have said about the government in Assam trying to put poets behind bars.
“Is India still a democracy,” asked academic Ashok Swain. “Muslims in Assam can't even write poems to express their opposition against 'concentration' camps,” he said.
Some Twitter users expressed concern over the future of the state and the country. “They have come for the poets. We know what happens next,” one Twitter user said.
Meanwhile on Facebook, users posted the poem on their profiles and shared it as a mark of protest.