Abdul Baten is an Assam-based activist arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). In October 2022, a private museum was inaugurated by Bengali-speaking Muslims in Assam to preserve their culture. The activist was falsely accused of sharing links with “terror outfits,” The museum was forcefully evicted and shut down by the administrative authorities of Goalpara district in Assam.
Baten is the general secretary of the Asom Miyan Parishad and one of the founders of the Miya Museum. Miya is a derogatory term used against Bengali-origin Muslims in Assam; in recent years, the word has been reclaimed by the Bengali-speaking Muslims based in Assam, who are reclaiming their cultural heritage and asserting their democratic rights through Miya resistance poetry and other means of protest. The museum displayed Miya culture, primarily agricultural equipment brought to Assam in the 19th century.
Baten is a retired teacher who taught at Dhubri’s BN College. Baten is associated with various causes of Miya Muslims and local politics. He had a professional relationship with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. He supported him during his Congress tenure, but he distanced himself since Sarma joined the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
Baten and other activists were arrested and imprisoned under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the stringent UAPA, anti-terrorism legislation frequently used by state authorities to detain activists and critics. The police accused him of waging war against the state.
Academician and scholar Dr. Ahmad has condemned the arrest, saying the “right-wing government is playing with the anxiety of the Assamese people and the state’s complex demography to polarise the environment.”
Charges and Allegations
Sections 120B, 121, 121(A), and 122 of the IPC, and the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Not released yet.