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Meghalaya legislator opposes Assam CM’s statement on religious ‘origin’

Stating that the statement of Sarma, who was also the “architect of the present government in Meghalaya, that Muslims and Christians were Hindus is misleading and contrary to facts”.

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Shillong: Former Meghalaya legislator, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, who is the current convener of Revolution Ïada La Ka Ri, on Monday criticised Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for saying that the origin of the Christian and Muslim population in India is Hindu.

Stating that the statement of Sarma, who was also the “architect of the present government in Meghalaya, that Muslims and Christians were Hindus is misleading and contrary to facts”.

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“It also not only confirms the motive of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but also reveals Biswa Sarma’s shallow understanding of the religious and cultural practices of the tribal people of the North Eastern States. I would also like to remind Sarma that tribals are neither Hindus nor Muslims. This had been clarified very clearly during the debates in the constituent assembly,” he contended and highlighted an excerpt from what had been stated in the constituent assembly by a prominent tribal leader Reverend JJ M Nichols Roy about the cultural practices of the tribal people in the North East.

“Rev J J M Nichols Roy in his submission to the constituent assembly, made it amply clear that tribals are neither Hindus nor Muslims,” he said in the media statement and quoted Roy as saying to the Constituent Assembly, “The Hindus do not eat beef but the tribesmen do, the Muslims do not eat pork but the tribal people do. Therefore, these people cannot be either Hindus or Muslims”.

“This has been accepted by the constituent assembly, which is why the sixth schedule was incorporated into the constitution to allow the tribals the freedom to practice their culture and way of life according to their own genious and understanding. Further, I would like to mention here about the conversation I had with the then Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan, where I made him to understand that tribals are not idol worshippers. Therefore, to make a statement that Christians were Hindus is erroneous and unfounded, especially the hill tribals of North eastern India,” he contended.

“The inclusion of Art 371 A & G for the States of Nagaland and Mizoram respectively, proved beyond doubt the recognition of the same. However, it is very unfortunate that political leaders in our State seem to be content with the Sixth Schedule, which was amended, by the insertion of paragraph 12A through the introduction of Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act, 1969 and substituted by the North – Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971,” the former legislator stated in a media release.

“Therefore, I would like to urge the indigenous people of the State, to make a very strong exception to the statement of the Assam Chief Minister. We can understand that individuals are always
ambitious, however, one cannot twist and turn facts according to one’s whims and fancies to further his/her personal political interest,” Basaiawmoit maintained.

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