Write down I am a Miya
My serial number in NRC is 20,543
I have two children
Another is coming next summer
Will you hate him as you hate me?
These lines by Hafiz Ahmed, a Muslim poet of Bengali heritage from Assam, could potentially land him in jail. Ahmed is part of a literary movement called “Miya poetry”—Muslims of Bengali origin are referred to as “Miyas” in Assam—that, among other things, highlights the discrimination the community faces in the state. On 11 July, a first-information report was filed against Ahmed, along with nine other Miya poets, who were charged with criminal conspiracy and spreading social disharmony under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the local Assamese journalist who filed the report, the poems tried to defame the Assamese people as xenophobic, at a time when the National Register of Citizens was being updated in the state.