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No differentiating between fundamentalists: Gogoi

Special Correspondent

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told the Assembly on Monday that his government was opposed to the term “Islamic fundamentalist” and preferred using “fundamentalist” to describe such groups.

The Chief Minister’s announcement came amidst an uproar in the Assembly following an objection raised by members of the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF), and supported by Congress legislators, to the term. They wanted such outfits to be called by their actual names.

Immediately afterwards, Speaker Tanka Bahadur Rai expunged the term from the House proceedings and from the answers to starred questions on the subject during the question hour. The Speaker announced that “Islamic fundamentalist” should be replaced by “fundamentalist.”

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members, however, strongly objected to dropping the term “Islamic” and argued that the term “Islamic Fundamentalist” was used globally.

The AUDF members raised their objection through a point of order during the question hour when an oral question by AGP member Prabin Gogoi came up. The AGP and BJP member opposed the AUDF member’s argument. Amidst an uproar, the Chief Minister rose to announce that his government was against differentiating between Islamic and Hindu fundamentalism as it might create bad blood in society. His government would deal firmly with any fundamentalist or militant or terrorist group.

AUDF president and the party’s lone MP from the Dhubri Lok Sabha constituency Badruddin Ajmal was seen seated in the Speaker’s gallery when the House witnessed the uproarious scenes.

Environment and Forests Minister Rockybul Hussain, replying on behalf of the Chief Minister to the question raised by Mr. Prabin Gogoi, informed the House that two Islamic Fundamentalist groups were currently active in the State —the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).

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