Army Chief's comments about Assamese party condemned as political
Army Chief Bipin Rawat finds himself in the midst of a controversy after he spoke of how a political party in the Northeast was rising on the back of Muslim support. All India United Democratic Front's (AIDUF) president Badruddin Ajmal questioned if Rawat was indulging in politics with such statements. Army, however, denied any political/religious intention behind the chief's statement. Here's more.
What did Army chief Bipin Rawat say?
While speaking at a Delhi conference, Rawat claimed that migration from Bangladesh had changed the population dynamic in Assam. He said five Muslim-majority districts have increased to eight or nine. To illustrate this, he said that the Muslim-based AIDUF's growth has been faster than BJP's growth. He added, the migration is "planned proxy warfare" by Pakistan, with China's support, to keep the region disturbed.
How did Badruddin Ajmal react?
Reacting to this, Ajmal tweeted, "General Bipin Rawat has made a political statement, shocking! Why is it a concern for the Army Chief that a political party, based on democratic and secular values, is rising faster than BJP? Alternative parties like AIUDF, AAP have grown because of big parties' misgovernance." He added that such statements are "against the constitutional mandate given to him."
Subsequently, what did the Army clarify?
The Army clarified that, "There is nothing political/religious in the statements." They said Rawat just mentioned "amalgamation and development" in the seminar. But, Ajmal didn't let the matter go. He questioned that if it wasn't political, why did Rawat drag a political party.
Meanwhile, Rawat has a solution to the migration problem
The influx of Bangladeshis is a major issue in Assam. The government is planning a national register of citizens to check who are living in the state illegally. Rawat, however, suggested "amalgamating" the people living there and then "identifying those creating trouble for us." He lauded the Centre for its right approach in ensuring development in the region as that would solve many problems.
Separately, what do Rawat's views about AIDUF signify?
AIUDF, founded in 2005, has witnessed unprecedented growth which corresponds to rising Muslim population in Assam. The party, active in Assam and WB, was formed to champion the "cause of Muslims." In its debut assembly election in 2006, it won 10 of 126 seats. In subsequent elections, it maintained a range of 10-20 seats. Further, it holds three seats in LS.