Agreed on 'Population': Assam CM Meets 'Indigenous' Muslim Figures
Officials present at Sarma's meeting reportedly said that the representatives objected to being labelled 'minority'.
Assam Chief Minister (CM) Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday, 4 July, met over 150 leading ‘indigenous’ Muslim personalities from diverse fields. Following his meeting, Sarma was quoted by PTI as claiming that they have all agreed that population growth is a threat to the development of Assam.
Meanwhile, officials present in the meeting were quoted by PTI as saying that representatives of the ‘indigenous’ Muslim community objected to being labelled 'minority'. They asked the government to address them as 'Assamese people'.
“Today I met over 150 intellectuals, writers, doctors, artistes, historians and professors among others. We discussed various issues confronting the Assamese minority people."Himanta Biswa Sarma
“If Assam wants to become one of the top five states in India, then we have to manage our population explosion. This was agreed by all,” Sarma further added.
Padma Shri awardees Dr Illias Ali and Eli Ahmed were among the attendees at the meeting, while Welfare of Minorities Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary and Education Minister Ranoj Pegu participated along with Sarma as part of the government.
Eight Sub-Groups to Be Created: CM
Sarma, in his address to the press, following the meeting, informed that eight sub-groups will be formed with members from the community to suggest various developmental measures.
These sub groups will be set up to prepare reports on sectors like health, education, skill development, women empowerment, cultural identity, population stabilisation and financial inclusion.
Further, as per PTI, Sarma said that the attendees suggested various measures to control population growth in the minority community.
Thereafter, following the compilation of the reports, “a roadmap will be created for the community,” Sarma said, adding:
“We will work over the next five years in accordance with that roadmap”.
A chairman from among the Muslims and a member secretary from the government will be part of each others groups, informed Sarma.
The Chief Minister also told reporters that the next round of meetings will be held with politicians and student bodies representing the minority community.
"In the next few days, I will sit with representatives of the migrant Muslims or Muslim people who originated from East Bengal... There are distinct cultural differences between the two Muslim communities (indigenous and migrant) and we respect that”.Himanta Biswa Sarma
“He (Sarma) said the indigenous Muslim population being an integral part of the Assamese society needs accelerated development so that the community becomes a significant contributor in the growth narrative of the state (while) keeping its cultural identity intact,” an official release from the Chief Minister's Office read.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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