Army chief General Bipin Rawat said during an event yesterday that “proxy games” by Pakistan with the support of China are solely responsible for growing illegal immigration of Bangladeshi citizens into Assam and other north-eastern states.
General Rawat said that rapidly growing Muslim population in certain parts of Assam indicates strategic efforts by Pakistan to send in Bangladeshi people for destabilizing the region. He gave the example of Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) party’s growth to explain his point.
“A planned immigration is taking place because of our western neighbour (Pakistan). They will always try and ensure that this area is taken over, playing the proxy dimension of warfare. I think this proxy game is being very well played by our western neighbour, supported by our northern border (China), to keep the area disturbed. We will continue to see some migration happening,” he said.
The army chief said that AIUDF, a political party was formed only in 2005 keeping mainly Muslim interests in mind, has grown at a faster pace in Assam than even the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the country’s ruling political party. He pointed out that a national party like BJP had won only two seats in 1984’s national elections, whereas AIUDF has managed to send three MPs to Parliament and 13 MLAs to Assam’s state assembly within just 13 years of its existence.
Rawat also said that the Centre and the Assam government have taken some considerable measures to eradicate this problem, and that will help take care of a lot of things. These measures include identification of people who create trouble and isolating them from the general population.
His statements drew some strong reactions from certain political leaders, including AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who said that the Army chief must not comment on “political matters” and that the Army will always work under “an elected civilian leadership.”