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Ahead of NRC Final List on July 31, FIR Filed Against 10 People in Assam Over Poem on Citizenship Issue

The complainant accused the poet of depicting a xenophobic image of the Assamese people and termed it a threat against them.


Updated:July 12, 2019, 4:53 PM IST
Ahead of NRC Final List on July 31, FIR Filed Against 10 People in Assam Over Poem on Citizenship Issue
(Cartoon by Mir Suhail)

Guwahati: The Assam Police on Friday registered an FIR against 10 people over complaint about a poem on the theme of citizenship issues faced by a section of people in Assam. Most of those against whom the complaint was filed are Bengal-origin Muslim poets and activists who write in a dialect colloquially called the ‘Miya’ dialect.

“An FIR has been registered today,” Guwahati Central Deputy Commissioner of Police Dharmendra Kr Das was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. However, no arrests have been made so far.

The complaint has been filed by Pranabjit Doloi over a poem written by Kazi Sharowar Hussein. The complainant has accused the poet of depicting a xenophobic image of the Assamese people, stating, “This is a serious threat to the Assamese people as well as towards national security and harmonious social atmosphere. The real intention of this poem is to motivate and provoke their community against the system.”

The 10 poets and activists have been booked under Sections 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), 153A (punishment for words or signs promoting or attempts to promote enmity on grounds of religion, race, place), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code, read with section 66 of the Information Technology Act.

Activists, however, questioned the move to file an FIR over a poem against "genuine citizens being marked doubtful voters or being sent to detention camps".

The complaint comes weeks before the publication of the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state. Assam, which has witnessed an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state with an NRC that was first prepared in 1951.

The final draft list of the NRC was published on July 30 last year — more than 40 lakh names had been excluded from the document.

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