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Assam: FIR Filed Against Poets & Activists For Poetry About Persecution Of Muslims

A complaint was filed in relation to poems that were featured in a Karwan-e-Mohabbat video titled 'I am Miya'.

Assam police on Thursday, July 11 reportedly registered an FIR against 10 poets and activists over poems depicting the issues faced by Bengali-origin Muslims in the state. They have been booked under section 420/406  of the IPC read with various provisions of the Copyright Act.

‘Miya’ — a word used as a slur to refer to Muslims in Assam — has been reclaimed by many in the community who write about their oppression in a form known as ‘Miya’ poetry.  The artists and activists named in the complaint were featured in a Karwan-e-Mohabbat video.

The powerful poems — “My Mother’s Name is D Voter” by Ashraful Hussain, “Write Down I Am Miya” by Hafiz Ahmed, “I Am Miya” by Rehna Sultana, “How Many More Days” by Abdul Rahim and “That Land is Mine” by Kazi Sharowar Hussain — talk about about the fears of the community, their persecution and violence, and the question of citizenship.

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Here’s an excerpt from Hafiz Ahmed’s poem:

“Write.

Write Down I am a Miya

My serial number in the NRC is 200543

I have two children

Another is coming Next summer.

Will you hate him

As you hate me?

Write.

Write Down I am a Miya

A citizen of a secular, democratic republic

Without any rights

My mother is a D-voter

Though her parents are Indian…”

Along with the above mentioned poets, the following persons have been named in the complaint — Shalim M Hussain, Karishma Hazarika, Abdul Kalam Azad, Banamallika Choudhary and Farhad Bhuyan.

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The complaint, filed by one Pranabjit Doloi, says the poems, circulating on social media, “defame” the people of Assam and “may obstruct the process of NRC”.

“Dharmendra Kr Das, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Guwahati Central, told The Indian Express, “Yes, an FIR has been registered today. No arrests have been made yet.”

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