Army Chief Faces Flak for Comment on Rise of Muslim Party in Assam

Rawat also said that the increasing migration of Bangladeshis to Assam was part of a ‘proxy warfare’ by Pakistan.

2 min read
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. 

Army Chief Bipin Rawat has courted controversy yet again, this time over his comments regarding the rapid rise of a Muslim political party in the Northeast.

Speaking at a conference on bridging gaps and securing borders in the Northeast region, Rawat, on Wednesday, 21 February, said:

There is a party called the AIUDF. If you look at it, they have grown in a faster time-frame than the BJP grew over the years. The AIUDF is moving at a faster pace in Assam.

The AIUDF, which was formed in 2005 with an aim to champion the cause of Muslim community, currently has three parliamentarians in Lok Sabha and 13 legislators in the state Assembly.

The Army chief said the solution to the ‘problem’ lies in ensuring development of the region by taking a holistic approach.

"I do not think you can now change the population dynamics of the area. If it was five districts to eight to nine, inversion has taken place whichever be the government," he said while referring to reports that districts with Muslim majority has increased from five to nine in Assam.

The Army chief said efforts should be to "amalgamate" the people living in the region and then try and "start identifying those creating trouble for us".

Rawat’s comment drew the ire of Muslim leaders across the country, including AIUDF president, who called the statement ‘shocking’.

Asaduddin Owaisi, the chief of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party (AIMIM) too condemned Rawat for ‘interfering in political matters’.

Rawat in his address at the conference also alleged that increasing migration of Bangladeshis to Assam was part of a ‘planned proxy warfare’ by Pakistan, backed by China.

A planned immigration is taking place because of our western neighbour. They will always try and ensure that this area is taken over, playing the proxy dimension of warfare. I think the proxy game is very well played by our western neighbour, supported by our northern border (China) to keep the area disturbed. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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