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AIUDF MLA arrested in Assam for sedition

Party ‘condemns’ Islam’s remark

Pranjal Baruah And Sarat Sarma Guwahati/Nagaon Published 07.04.20, 06:48 PM
AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam after his arrest in Nagaon on Tuesday.

AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam after his arrest in Nagaon on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) legislator Aminul Islam was arrested on Tuesday on sedition charges for allegedly making provocative statements against the quarantine facilities where Nizamuddin returnees have been sent in Assam.

The AIUDF, led by perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal, immediately distanced itself, saying that it was Islam’s “personal comment” and the party did not endorse it.


“Islam’s remark has no connection with the party. It is absolutely his personal statement. The party condemns such a statement when the country is battling the global pandemic. The law must take its own course,” it stated.

H.R.A. Choudhury, chairman of the Minorities Consultative Committee, Assam, an umbrella body of leading Muslim organisations, also said it was Islam’s personal comment and that the law would take its own course.

Islam, 49, Dhing legislator and senior Opposition leader, was picked up by Nagaon police from his house at Poromaibheti locality in Alitangoni area of the district on Monday night for questioning.

Later, he was brought to Nagaon police station and a case was registered against him under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 124A (sedition) and 295A (outraging religious feelings) of the IPC.

Nagaon superintendent of police Abhijit Gurav said, “We received a complaint against Islam, citing a widely circulated audio clip in which he was found to be commenting on the quarantine facilities in the state. Police swung into action and arrested him on sedition charges.” Islam was sent to 14-day judicial custody by a local court in Nagaon, he added.

Sedition is a non-bailable offence. If convicted, Islam may have to undergo imprisonment from three years to life term, as well as a fine.

In the audio clip that went viral of a conversation, purportedly between Islam and an unknown person, the AIUDF leader allegedly stated that the quarantine centres in Assam were “worse than detention centres” meant for illegal migrants. In the clip, he allegedly blamed the state government for sending “healthy” Nizamuddin returnees to quarantine centres and trying to defame them by tagging them as Covid-19-positive patients.

Nagaon deputy commissioner Jadav Saikia said Islam was found attempting to misuse social media to spread wrong information regarding Covid-19. “This is the seventh such social media misuse case in the district since the lockdown started. We are taking timely and fruitful measures to reduce such misuse,” Saikia told The Telegraph.

Islam had sparked another controversy during the Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests earlier this year by saying that Ahoms were not indigenous people of Assam.

The AIUDF asked the police to take necessary action against all those who have made provocative or misleading statements regarding Covid-19. On Monday, a complaint had been lodged against Silchar BJP MLA Dilip Paul for his reported communal remark against those who had attended the Nizamuddin congregation. On Monday night, Karbi Anglong police had arrested former Diphu town committee chairman and senior Congress leader Denial Engti for his alleged provocative statement. Engti was sent to judicial custody today.

Lok Sabha MP from Barpeta, Abdul Khaleque, demanded similar action against Paul. Posting a newspaper report on Paul on Tuesday, Khaleque tweeted: For kind attention of @sarbanandsonwal @himantabiswa @JPNadda, whether the government will initiate action or will keep mum as he is a @BJP4India MLA and Kaaryakarta.”

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