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Miya Museum sealed two days after opening in Assam

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Goalpara, Oct 25: Amid the controversy around the setting up of private 'Miya Museum'in Assam's Goalpara, the district administration has now sealed the museum and its owner was taken into custody after Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma raised questions on its funding. The museum was opened to the public on Sunday.

Miya Museum sealed two days after opening in Assam

A team of government officers sealed the museum at Dapkabhita under Lakhiur police station and put up a notice that it has been done on the orders of the deputy commissioner as reported by news agency PTI.

According to the authorities, the 'museum' was built inside a house that was constructed using Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) funds.

Speaking about the 'museum', Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said said that such activities by some members of the Miya community posed a threat to the "Assamese identity".

"How can they (Miya community) claim that the plough is their identity? It has been used by all farmers in the state for ages. It is only the lungi that they can claim as their own," Sarma said at the sidelines of a programme.

Those who have set up the museum will have to answer to an expert committee on what basis the claims were made, he added.

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The opening of the Museum in a house allotted under the PMAY-G led to a controversy with senior BJP leaders demanding its immediate closure.

BJP Minority Morcha member Abdur Rahim Gibran had filed a complaint against the setting up of the museum in the house.

Some agricultural implements and fishing equipment, hand towels and checked 'lungis' (sarongs worn by men) are on display as Ali claimed that these are the identity of the 'Miya' community.

In Assam, the word 'Miya' refers to Bengali-speaking migrants whose origin can be traced to Bangladesh.

Ali along with his two minor sons sat on a dharna outside the house demanding the immediate reopening of the museum.

"We are displaying objects with which the community identifies itself so that people from other communities can realise that the Miyas are not any different from them", Ali said.

The police later took him into custody.

The setting up of a Miya Museum was first proposed by former Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed in 2020. He had written to the director of museums urging for its establishment at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra to showcase the culture and heritage of Bengali-speaking Muslims living in the riverine areas of the state.

Sarma had rejected Ahmed's proposal.

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