Tuesday, August 22, 2006

400 Assam ashrams taken over by illegal Bangladeshis


Vaishnavis seek Army help to reclaim land

Pramod Kumar Singh | New Delhi

Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants settled in Assam have usurped over 400 mutts and namghar (also called Kirtanghar) owned by the Asom Sattra Mahasava of Vaishnava sect. Having failed in their efforts to regain these places from Bangladesh nationals, the followers of this sect have now petitioned the Army to help them in reclaiming their lost seats of Assamese culture.

Badly hit by the Bangladeshi invasion, the Sattra people have approached the Army as the feel that the Government will not come to their rescue as its very future hinges on the support of the Assam United Democratic Front.

There are 800 places in the State, which were being used by the followers of Asom Sattra Mahasava. However, after the influx of Bangladeshi immigrants in the State, the scenario has altered drastically as Bangladeshis have managed to take over the lands and buildings owned by the Mahasava in Nalbari, Barpeta, Naogoan, Dhubri and Kamrup districts.

When asked about it, Bhaba Goswami, the general secretary of the Asom Sattra Mahasava, termed this development as "alarming and dangerous". They have submitted a memorandum to the Army to help them in protecting their Namghar from the marauding Bangladeshis.

This development, which has the potential to trouble the already-troubled State is slowly turning into a major issue for the followers of this sect propounded by Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449-1560) , the great saint and preacher, poet, playwright, philosopher and reformer.

With its passive influence on the religious, social and cultural life of Assam enduring the last five centuries, the Sattra institutions are held high as the living museums of Sankarite, religion and culture.

Sattra institutions are revered as hubs of Assamese culture but the volte face by the Government over the illegal usurpations by Bangladeshi have angered the followers.


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