Complaint against the publisher of ‘The Hindu’, two researchers for articles on violent expulsions from Assam

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Prabhajan Virodhi Manch, an anti-migrant organization in Assam, filed a complaint against the police on Wednesday The Hindu editor Suresh Nambath and two researchers for an article and blog written about a recent eviction campaign in the state.

On September 23, two civilians, including a 12-year-old child, were killed by police gunfire during an eviction campaign in the Sipajhar neighborhood of Darrang district (Assam). It was the second mass deportation campaign that week. The villages that received eviction notices were mainly inhabited by Muslims of Bengali descent.

Prabhajan Virodhi Manch, who filed a complaint at the Latasil police station in Guwahati, describes himself as an “anti-infiltrator forum” on Facebook. The group aims to drive out all undocumented migrants from Assam.

In the past, the Prabhajan Virodhi Manch have often urged the government to eliminate “illegal invaders” from the Sipajhar region in Assam, which they claim to be occupied by “illegal Bangladeshis”. Most of the inhabitants of the region are Muslims of Bengali origin.

Among the articles the group opposed, one was written by Surah Gogoi, researcher at the National University of Singapore, and has been published in The Hindu. The other was written and published by Angshuman Choudhury, senior researcher at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, on his blog.

In their complaint, Prabhajan Virodhi Manch claimed that Gogoi’s article in The Hindu “Has had many instances of offensive speeches made against Assam and the Assamese community at large.”

The complaint also objected to Angshuman Choudhury comparing Bijay Bania, the Darrang district photographer, to 17th century military commander Lachit Borphukan. The group claimed the reference was an “attempt to provoke a riot”.

Bijay Bania was seen in a video jumping on a man lying motionless on the ground during the September 23 eviction campaign. The man who had been attacked was identified as Moinul Haque.

Choudhury then edited his article to remove the reference to Lachit Borphukan. On his blog, he added that the deleted sentence was meant to be a metaphorical analogy, but was taken at face value. “The intention was never to hurt the feelings of any particular community here,” Choudhury wrote in the note.

Read also :

Why the expulsions in Assam under Himanta Sarma have left Bengali Muslims more fearful than ever

Moments before a 12-year-old fell under gunfire from Assam police, he had obtained crucial ID

This is not the first time that Assamese nationalist groups have approached the police to write what they claim to portray the Assamese community in a bad light. In 2019, state police filed an FIR against a citizenship poem written by Muslims “Miya,” as Muslims of Bengali descent are called in Assam. The complainant claimed that the poem aimed to portray the “Assamese people as xenophobic” in order to fuel community tensions.


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