Assam Minister and convenor of BJP’s North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), Himanta Biswa Sarma said that it is the party’s policy to differentiate between Hindu and Muslim migrants and asked the people of Assam to select their enemy, that is, ‘the 1-1.5 lakh or the 55 lakh people’. He talked about these figures while responding to queries on opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam. Though he did not elaborate on the numbers, it seemed that Sarma was referring to Hindu and Muslim migrants, said a report in The Indian Express. Official numbers of the Hindu and Muslim migrants from Bangladesh in Assam are not available, yet most political parties claim that it has around 55 lakh migrants from Bangladesh. But the 1-1.5 lakh figure does not relate to any other statistics. “The whole thing is that we have to decide who our enemy is. Who is our enemy, the 1-1.5 lakh people or the 55 lakh people? The Assamese community is at the crossroads. We could not (save) 11 districts. If we continue to remain this way, six more districts will go out (of our hands) in the 2021 Census. In 2031, more (districts) will go out,” said Sarma, pressing for the Bill, IE reported. Though Sarma talked about 11 districts, according to 2011 Census, there were 9 districts which had Muslim majority which was six in 2001.
He said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, will grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Parsis who face persecution in Bangladesh and Pakistan and enter India without valid documents. He asked the parties opposed to the Bill to find out which community is threatening to reduce the Assamese to a minority.
Saying that India was divided in the ‘name of religion’, hence it is not a new thing that it is BJP’s policy to differentiate between Hindu and Muslims. “There has been no analysis about whether we are becoming a minority from the linguistic aspect or religious aspect, or from a combined attack of both language and religion. That is why we must now decide who to go with in order to save ourselves,” said Sarma. He asked, “When we go to Dibrugarh or Tinsukia (districts) we feel very good because we are in a majority there. But do you feel good when you go to Dhubri or Barpeta (Muslim majority districts)?”
He said that BJP’s viewpoint to segregate Bengali speaking Hindu migrants from Bengali-speaking Muslim migrants does not change before and after the elections. “Does secularism mean that the satras have to move out of their original places? Does secularism mean some people will snatch away land belonging to Batadrava satra? Does secularism mean some people will encroach upon the land in Kaziranga and Pobitora (wildlife sanctuaries),” said Sarma.
Sarma was speaking to the media after the release of his latest book, Anya Ek Dristikon, IE reported.