Jyoti Lal Chowdhury in Silchar
Assam MLA Dr Rumi Nath elected from the Borkhola Assembly constituency of Cachar in the extreme south of Assam, married to Rakesh Kumar Singh in 2006 and has a two year old daughter Hriddhi, has been at the centre stage of the anger and wrath of people for eloping with a Muslim boy, a clerk in the Social Welfare Department of the State, and getting into wedlock with him surreptitiously without any care and concern for social and political decency and decorum. The MLA who won as a BJP candidate in 2006 made a volte-face on the eve of the Rajya Sabha elections in 2010 and joined Congress, allegedly on the allurement of huge cash, by committing treachery with the electorates as well as the party that did all the spadework for her electoral success. In 2011, she won for the second time on Congress ticket.
After making political somersault, the flamboyant and maverick lady MLA secretly married the Muslim boy Jakir Hussain alias Jacky, an unknown face, but lucky to hit the media headlines. When the local newspapers and cable channels began to expose all about her second marriage with photographs of nikah in the presence of the controversial minister of Border Area Development of Assam, Siddeque Ahmed, in April end of this year, Rumi Nath with vermilion on her forehead and two year daughter Hriddhi in her lap dismissed the media reports as ‘false and fabricated’ and the photographs with Jacky and Siddeque as ‘superimposed’. She even threatened to sue the media.
But the media on hot pursuit of the MLA began to dig out many skeletons out of the cupboards notwithstanding her persistent and stout denials. The MLA did the most daring act of coming to the historic Hindu temple of Nrimata (Goddess Parvati and God Mahadev) in her constituency along with Rakesh Singh, her first husband, and the baby in her lap on May 13 and offered prayers to assert that all the stories of her marriage with a Muslim boy were ‘gossips and rumours’.
But, despite all her ‘cosmetic assertions’, facts came out with clinching evidences that Rumi Nath had embraced Islam on April 13, 2012 by marrying Jakir Hussain without divorcing her first husband, Rakesh Kumar Singh. The electorates of her constituency, Borkhola, were the first to react angrily and accused her of betraying them. They had voted her as a Hindu wife and not as Reshma Sultana alias Rubaiya, her converted name. According to them, she was like an absconder since she had eloped to Tripura to register her marriage with Jakir. They demanded her disqualification as an MLA and said she had lost the moral and constitutional right to represent them.
Her visit to the Nrimata temple enraged the president of the temple, Nani Gopal Dey, and the secretary Benu Bhusan Roy for concealing her conversion to Islam and thereby defiling the holy place on May 13, 2012 which according to them amounted to ‘blasphemy’ and hurting the religious sentiments and feelings of the Hindus. They along with five other members of the temple committee filed a complaint before the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Silchar, on June 6 to forward the case to the officer in charge of Borkhola Police Station for investigation and to register a case against Rumi Nath and initiate legal proceedings against her.
Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad and Mahila Samannay Mancha have raised the constitutional and democratic propriety of Rumi Nath to continue as the representative of people of Borkhola for her unbecoming conduct and behaviour which reflected her ‘demented mind’, and the 191 (b) clause of the Constitution of the country disqualified her membership of the Assembly. Further under clause 192 of the Constitution, the Governor of a State on the basis of public complaint is the competent authority to decide the continuation of a Member of the House on the ground of constitutional propriety. Besides, in a significant judgement by the Supreme Court, as referred to by the Adhivakta Parishad, in the matter of Union of India Vs Association for Democratic Reforms case 2002 as well as the People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vs Union of India case 2003, it has been held, “disinformation, misinformation, non-information all equally create an uninformed citizenry which would make democracy a farce. A well informed voter is the foundation of the democratic structure. The right of a voter to know bio-data of a candidate is the foundation of democracy. The voters have the right to know the antecedents of the candidates contesting election.” By hiding the facts about her second marriage with a Muslim boy, both Adhivakta Parishad and Mahila Samannay Mancha have accused Rumi Nath of playing fraud and deceit with her electorates and called for immediate removal of her from the State Assembly.
Bharatiya Janata Party of Barak Valley in a memorandum addressed to the Governor of Assam, J B Patnaik, has asked for stern action against Dr Rumi Nath, MLA, and Siddeque Ahmed, Minister of Cooperative and Border Area Development, latter having added and abetted the illegal marriage, for their immediate dismissal from the post of MLA and minister respectively. Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Association of Nath Yugi Sammelani, the community to which Rumi Nath belongs, have demanded social and political boycott of the MLA. They have also threatened Rumi Nath not to step into her constituency. After being in the limelight of the media for the last two months, the whereabouts of the MLA are not known, raising many interesting and intriguing questions in public mind.