Guwahati: The Assam cabinet on Friday gave its nod for a socio-economic assessment of indigenous Muslims through the Directorate of Minority Affairs and Char Areas.
The cabinet also approved renaming the Directorate of Char Areas Development as the Directorate of Minority Affairs and Char Areas.
Five indigenous Muslim communities- Goria, Moria, Deshi, Syed and Jolha communities have for years been pleading for steps to safeguard their indigenous identity and culture, distinct from that of Bengali-speaking Muslim immigrants.
This assessment will enable the BJP-led government to frame focused strategies for the comprehensive social, political and educational uplift in the line of Bihar government’s caste-based headcount.
A sizeable population of the five Muslim communities has socially and economically lagged behind
“Hopefully, this assessment will bring a change to their lives,” PHE minister and official spokesperson Jayanta Mallabaruah told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
The move, which comes three months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, is seen as an attempt to woo the indigenous Muslim voters.
Former chairman of Assam Minority Development Board (AMDB) Syed Muminul Awal was among the indigenous Muslim leaders, who have been demanding a socio-economic assessment of indigenous Muslims of the state.
The cabinet also approved in principle a standard operating procedure (SOP)for permitting traditional buffalo and bul fights to be organised during Magh Bihu at Ahatguri in Morigaon district, Nagaon district or any other parts of the state.
“The SOP aims at no deliberate torture or cruelty is carried out on the animals and their well-being is provided for by the organisers during the annual Moh-juj festival, an integral part of the centuries-old Assamese tradition,” Baruah said.
The cabinet also sanctioned Rs 259.70 crore for the construction of libraries for children and adolescents and digital infrastructure across the state for inculcating the habit of reading among students.
“The Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment, which was announced in the Union Budget 2023-24, aims at commencing construction of new libraries and procurement of books/furniture, computers with internet connectivity in 2,197 village panchayats and 400 municipal wards across the state,” the minister said.
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