Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has directed officials to conduct a comprehensive socio-economic assessment of the state's five indigenous Muslim communities. This initiative is aimed at guiding the government in implementing measures that will lead to the holistic socio-political and educational development of these communities.
The five indigenous Muslim communities under examination are Goria, Moria, Deshi, Syed, and Jolha. Chief Minister Sarma's directive came during a meeting held at Janata Bhawan, where he emphasized the importance of understanding the unique socio-economic challenges and opportunities faced by these communities.
In a statement released by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), it was stated, "These findings will guide the government to take suitable measures aimed at the comprehensive socio-political and educational upliftment of the state’s indigenous minorities."
This move is part of Assam's commitment to promoting inclusivity and development for all its communities. However, it comes in the wake of recent controversial statements made by Chief Minister Sarma regarding the 'Miya' people of 'char' (riverine sandbar) areas. The term 'Miya' is a colloquial reference to Bengali-speaking Muslims.
During a previous statement, Chief Minister Sarma expressed that the BJP did not need the votes of 'Miya' people until they reformed themselves by abandoning practices such as child marriage. He further explained that it would take approximately ten years for such reforms to take place.
In a simultaneous effort, Assam has been actively cracking down on child marriages. Chief Minister Sarma announced that over 800 individuals were arrested in the second phase of a state-wide operation targeting child marriages. He also mentioned that the number of arrests related to this issue is expected to rise as the operation continues.
As of September 11, Chief Minister Sarma had informed the Assam Assembly that a total of 3,907 people had been arrested in child marriage cases over the past five years. Of these, 3,319 are facing charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).
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