Assam: Ten Poets, Activists Booked for Poem on Citizenship Row
By Thewire 12-Jul-2019
Most of the accused are Muslim poets and rights activists who trace their origins to Bengal, Indian Express has reported. The newspaper quoted Guwahati Central deputy commissioner of police Dharmendra Kumar Das as having noted that they had been charged under Sections 420 (punishment for cheating) and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Copyright Act, 1957.
The poem that led to the complaint by journalist Pranabjit Doloi, belongs to the genre of ‘Miyah’ – originally the Urdu honorific for men which gradually became a slur for Bengal-origin, ‘immigrant’ Muslims in Assam. The slur has now been reclaimed by a generation of poets who call themselves and their style of protest poetry ‘Miyah’.
An Al Jazeera article traces one of the first true examples of Miyah poetry back to 1985, when Khabir Ahmed wrote I Beg To State That in the aftermath of the Nellie Massacre of 1983, in which more than 2,000 Bengali-origin Muslims were killed in just six hours.
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