GUWAHATI: At a time the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) threatens to strain the ties between Bengalis and the Assamese in Assam, a government body has decided to offer financial assistance to couples who entered into inter-community marriages.
The Assam Linguistic Minority Development Board (ALMDB) said financial aid would be provided keeping in mind the welfare of the families.
“Some couples are deprived of property rights by their families for inter-community marriage. Some others face a social boycott. As a result, they suffer a lot but they have the right to live. We want to do something for these families. They can earn a living by opening a paan shop etc,” ALMDB chairman Alok Kumar Ghose told journalists.
He said they would soon decide on the amount of aid to be given stating that it could be Rs.20,000 or Rs.50,000. Marriages between Bengalis and the Assamese are common in Assam. People from the two communities also work in partnership in various other fields.
The All Assam Bengali Youth Students’ Federation welcomed the ALMDB’s move but the All Assam Minority Students’ Union alleged it was “divisive”.
Ghose has no doubt the move would go a long way.
“Bengali and Assamese people share a bond of amity. We want to consolidate it further. The Bengalis in Assam feel proud to identify themselves as Bongobhasi Assamese. Their mother tongue could be Bengali but they consider themselves as Assamese,” Ghose said.
He said the Bengalis in Assam never sought the CAA as they had already got assimilated into the Assamese society.
“Bhupen Hazarika had brought Bengalis and Assamese closer to each other. He had sung the same songs in both Bengali and Assamese. As a mark of respect to him, we have decided to erect his statue in Siliguri, West Bengal,” Ghose said.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)