GUWAHATI: The Sadou Asom Goria-Moria-Deshi Jatiya Parishad (SAGMDJP) has raised the demand for a census of the indigenous Muslims in Assam and measures for safeguarding their unique ethnic identity.
Talking to The Sentinel SAGMDJP president Hafiz Ahmed said: “One of our prime demands is a census to find out our exact number in the State and to provide us Constitutional safeguard so as to protect our unique ethnic identity.” Ahmed has accused the ruling BJP of forgetting its promises made in its election manifestos in 2014 and 2016 that it would conduct a census of Assam’s indigenous Muslim groups like Goria, Moria, Deshis and accord them Constitutional safeguards.
“The indigenous Muslims of Assam are often mistaken with the Muslims of East Pakistan. Many a time we’re considered Bangladeshis. The indigenous Muslim groups are converts from local communities. So we have completely a different identity that must be protected,” Ahmed said, and added: “Same as Tiwas, Rabhas and others we’re also ethnic people of Assam. We’ve have our distinct identity. We should be accorded ST status in Assam. Despite our distinctive identity, we’re often mistaken as Bangladeshis after the latter entering the State in different waves. Their influx into Assam has endangered our identity in Assam. We need a separate constitutional safeguard. Like us, all Assamese Hindus will also be affected the worst in the event of the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament. This is why we’re opposing the Bill.”
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