Assam’s Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has blamed the ‘Miya’ Muslim community for the higher prices of vegetables in the state.
“The vegetable rates are lower in the rural areas; however, the prices are increased when they are brought to the urban places,” he said. The Chief Minister claimed that all the sellers have been increasing the rates and most of them are “Miya” people.
“They (East Bengal origin Muslims) have been taking high prices from the Assamese people. In Guwahati, ‘Miya’ people have taken control of the local vegetable markets,” Sarma told IANS.
On Thursday evening, Sarma further said that if a young person from Assam had been involved in selling vegetables, they would not have been able to charge exorbitant prices from their fellow Assamese citizens.
“I urge the Assamese youths to come forward and I assure you that I would drive away all the ‘Miya’ Muslim vegetable sellers from the city,” Sarma said.
Sarma said that the Miya Muslim community constitutes a significant portion of the population engaged in various sectors, including cab and bus services, in Assam.
The Miya Muslims trace their roots back to Bengali Muslim migrants who settled in the Brahmaputra Valley during the British colonial era in the 20th century. These migrants originated from the divisions of Mymensingh, Rangpur, and Rajshahi, which are now part of Bangladesh.
The Chief Minister said: “We have seen on the recent Eid, most of the roads in Guwahati were vacant as they were celebrating the festival and were absent from work.”
The Chief Minister’s remarks were made in response to a statement by Badruddin Ajmal, the Chief of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). Ajmal had said that the Assamese community is incomplete without the inclusion of Muslim people.
“Miya Muslims and Assamese people are like brothers. The state can not exist without the Muslim community,” Ajmal said.
Assam has experienced a significant increase in vegetable prices in recent days, causing frustration among the general public. Many people have expressed their concerns and questioned the government’s actions, as there seems to be no relief from the ongoing price rise.