Assam MLA arrested for communal rant on Covid-19, booked for sedition

AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam had allegedly stated in an audio clip that there was a conspiracy to target a particular community in the garb of Covid-19 and those in quarantine could be killed.
AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam (in blue mask) was arrested Tuesday for alleged communal remarks on Covid-19 in Nagaon district.(ANI)
AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam (in blue mask) was arrested Tuesday for alleged communal remarks on Covid-19 in Nagaon district.(ANI)
Updated on Apr 07, 2020 09:19 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Guwahati | By

The Assam Police on Tuesday booked an opposition MLA for sedition and other offences for allegedly making provocative, communal and false statements on Covid-19 and the treatment of patients in the state.

Police said Aminul Islam, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) legislator from Dhing in central Assam was picked up from his residence on Monday night and arrested Tuesday morning after interrogation.

He had allegedly stated in an audio clip doing rounds in social media that there was a conspiracy to target a particular community in the garb of Covid-19 and those in quarantine could be killed.

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“Islam has been arrested under several sections of IPC for charges including criminal conspiracy, spreading disaffection amongst communities etc,” Assam’s Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said.

Islam was produced in a local court in Nagaon on Tuesday and was sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

A government release stated that Islam was arrested because of “communal and false comments” made in the clip.

He has been booked under sections 120(B)-criminal conspiracy, 124A-sedition, 153A-promoting enmity on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and 295A - deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.

“We have seized his personal digital accessories (PDAs) and are processing them as per law. We have found several clippings in his mobile, which we will have to test digitally,” the DGP said.

In the past few days Islam has posted several posts on social media platforms questioning the government’s handling of the Covid-19 patients and those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi last month.

There are at present 28 positive Covid-19 cases in Assam and 26 of them are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat event.

The patients are being treated at several government hospitals across Assam. Many others who came in contact with them have been kept in quarantine facilities.

“The quarantine centres are worse than detention centres. I heard that even those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation one or two months ago have been kept in quarantine and their family members are not allowed near them,” Islam is reportedly heard claiming in the clip, which HT has accessed.

Hindustan Times could not verify the authenticity of the clip.

Assam has six detention centres lodged inside jails to keep those declared foreigners by foreigners’ tribunals. Another big detention centre, which can house around 3,000 people, is under construction.

The legislator allegedly said that people kept in quarantine have not been tested for Covid-19 and are being kept there despite not having any symptoms associated with the disease.

“I doubt that these people in quarantine may be killed with some lethal injection and the authorities will claim they died due to coronavirus. There is conspiracy going on to show that these people brought the virus from Nizamuddin Markaz, and kill them inside quarantine facilities,” the MLA allegedly said.

Several AIUDF MLAs contacted by HT refused to comment on the matter general secretary (organisation) AIUDF who has the same name as the MLA said the lawmaker’s comments were not the party’s official line.

“Islam’s comments at such a time are unfortunate, but those are not the party’s official stand and are his personal views. Hope the government also takes action against elected representatives from other parties who have made sensitive comments about the present situation,” said Md Aminul Islam, the AIUDF general secretary.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is an assistant editor based in Guwahati. He covers all eight states of North-East and was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times .

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