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Himanta Biswa Sarma

Affiliation: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Categories: Hate Mongers, Most Dangerous
Location: Assam, India

Currently serving as the chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma is known for his extreme Hindu nationalistic views. 52-year-old Sarma is considered the most powerful and influential politician in the northeastern states of India. Defecting from the Congress party— where two chief ministers are credited for Sarma’s early rise— in 2015, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the assembly polls. In the 2016 assembly elections, he is considered to have played a vital role in unseating three-time Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

However, Sarma’s defection to BJP warranted the attention to corruption allegations against him in the multi-crore Louis Berger scam, irregularities in the water supply scheme, and Sharada chit fund scam. Since jumping the ships, the investigations into the cases have been slowed.

Sarma, who entered politics during the heights of deadly Assam Agitation in the 1980s, was instrumental in forming the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a regional alliance of BJP allies that formed governments in seven northeastern states.

During his campaign for the 2021 assembly elections, Sarma said in an interview that elections in Assam could not be fought only on development issues, which further deepened the Assamese ethnonationalism and polarised society on religious lines.

In February 2021, he said that the BJP does not need votes from the Bengali-origin Muslim community in Assam — often colloquially referred to as ‘Miya’ Muslims — to win the elections.

“They have started identifying themselves as Miyas. These so called Miya people are very very communal and fundamental and they are involved in many activities to distort Assamese culture and Assamese language. So I don’t want to be an MLA with their vote. I will not be able to sit in the Assembly if they voted for me,” Sarma told reporters in Guwahati. He further said the BJP will not give tickets to those who identify themselves as Muslims.

Further, since Sarma’s term as CM started, police encounters have become a regular affair in the state. He had defended the encounters saying, “When someone asked me whether shooting incidents are becoming a pattern in the state, I replied that (shooting) should be the pattern if it involves a criminal trying to escape police custody.”

On May 22, 2022, while speaking at an event organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Delhi, Sarma said madarsas (Islamic seminaries) should cease to exist. Since August 2022, Sarma’s has launched a campaign to demolish madrasas that his office falsely claims are offices of terrorist organizations.

On September 7, 2022, Sarma made a controversial statement about “integrating Bangladesh” at a time when the neighbouring country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was on a diplomatic visit to India.

Some of his controversial statements:

“Those who smuggle cows should be caught at all costs… I don’t even want it to go to the chargesheet stage (implying they should be killed) because our cows need to be protected…. A cow is like a god to us.”

“Hindu boy lying to Hindu girl is also Jihad. We will bring a law against it.”: Himanta Biswa Sarma

“They have started identifying themselves as Miyas (Muslims). These so called Miya people are very communal and fundamental and they are involved in many activities to distort Assamese culture and Assamese language. So, I don’t want to be an MLA with their vote. I will not be able to sit in the Assembly if they voted for me.”

“Even the Muslims in India were children of Hindus six or twelve or twenty generations ago. Even a Christian in India was a Hindu at one point of time. Hinduism is a continuous flow.”