Guwahati, Aug 10: Over half-a-dozen complaints have been filed against controversial Assam BJP MLA Shiladitya Dev by various organisations days after he termed revered scholar Syed Abdul Malik an “intellectual jihadi”. BJP leader and Assam Minority Development Board Chairman Muminul Aowal condemned the statement and demanded a public apology from his party colleague.
The Congress called Dev a “mad person” who should be sent to “mental asylum” for his frequent controversial and communally-sensitive statements. It also described him as the “Rakhi Sawant of the BJP”, in a reference to the Bollywood actor who is known for making controversial remarks. The Congress’ minority department lodged a complaint at the Hatigaon police station in Guwahati on Sunday against Dev and demanded immediate arrest of the legislator from the Hojai constituency.
The Sadou Asom Goria-Moria-Deshi Jatiya Parishad has filed complaints at different police stations in Barpeta, Dhubri and Morigaon districts, while the Sadou Asom Goria Yuva-Chatra Parishad filed a report at Jalukbari police station in Guwahati. The Asom Songrami Yuva Manch, too, filed a complaint at the Hatigaon police station and demanded strict action against Dev.
“What Shiladitya said, I oppose it and strongly condemned it,” BJP leader Aowal said. “If he does not apologise publicly, then I will always take a strong stand against him.” Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi strongly condemned Dev’s derogatory remarks against Malik, a highly-respected poet, novelist and short-story writer. Congress Lok Sabha MP Abdul Khaleque termed the BJP MLA a “mad person who should be sent to mental asylum”. Another Congress leader Kamal Kumar Medhi said: “Shiladitya Dev is the Rakhi Sawant of the BJP. The Assamese society should not give him any importance.”
Asam Sahitya Sabha president Kuladhar Saikia condemned the “controversial remarks” against Malik, who was also the president of the apex literary body. Dev had said last Friday that Malik was a poet who was indulging in “intellectual jihad”. He made the remarks while commenting on the recent communal clash in Sonitpur district on the day of the foundation stone-laying of Ram temple. Cutting across political affiliations, this sparked sharp reactions across the state and many groups burnt effigies of Dev on Sunday. Last month, Dev had said he would quit the BJP on July 14, alleging neglect and groupism by the leaders, but later he made a U-turn and did not resign.
Dev has been in the news for making controversial statements, mostly targeting one particular community, leading to even registering an FIR at the Silchar police station in 2018 for allegedly making provocative statements to divide Assamese and Bengalis. A case also was filed in the same year in the court of chief judicial magistrate, Nagaon, against the BJP MLA for his frequent communal remarks on the National Register of Citizens in the state.
Dev had alleged that Hindu refugees were being shown as foreigners, while the names of Bangladeshi Muslims were published in the final NRC. After unidentified gunmen killed five people in Tinsukia district in November 2018, state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass had said provocative statements by some groups and individuals were to be blamed for the case.
Dass had informed the media that Dev had been warned twice not to make any such statements or else the BJP would write to the parliamentary board for taking action against him.