The Assam state government, led by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, has made a significant decision to recognise five Assamese-speaking Muslim groups as Assamese Indigenous Muslim communities, offering them an indigenous identity that would help separate them from Bengali-speaking Muslims.
While addressing the media on Tuesday, state health minister Keshab Kumar Mahanta said that five groups, including Goria, Moriya, Deshi, Julah, and Syed, will be accorded indigenous status as a result of a cabinet meeting decision. ‘People from these five Muslim communities would be recognised as indigenous Assamese Muslims or Assamese Muslim sub-groups,’ he continued.
At our weekly #AssamCabinet, we took several decisions pertaining to scrapping of old vehicles, identification of 5 indigenous Muslim groups, exempting ex-servicemen & their widows from paying property tax, boost to renewable energy, improving data access, etc. pic.twitter.com/3a56XLQfd7
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) July 5, 2022
Mahanta further noted that the decision will assist to guarantee the growth of health, cultural identity, education, financial inclusion, skill development, and women empowerment in these areas. Notably, this followed chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s pledge last month that his administration will take the required steps to identify indigenous minorities in the state, including Muslim populations.
Cabinet provides minority certificates
In an earlier meeting on May 30, the Assam government resolved to grant minority credentials to six communities, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis. This was done to provide them with identity in order for them to benefit from government programmes. During that time, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke to the media and claimed that the government is already in the process of identifying another group of individuals who are not migrants but genuine inhabitants of the state.