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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 41 New Delhi September 29, 2018

BJP Chief’s Diabolical Move

Saturday 29 September 2018, by SC

EDITORIAL

BJP President Amit Shah is at it again. After his most objectionable speech at a party rally in Jaipur on September 11 (wherein he mocked at a prime victim of the Sangh Parivar’s lynch-mob, Mohmmad Akhlaq, and those who returned their awards as a token of protest against the secular democratic ideals of our Constitution) he raised the issue of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh at a Purvanchal Mahakumbh of the ruling party in the Capital on September 23 and used therein certain language that militated against civilised norms.

What he actually said in Hindi, when translated into English, read as follows:

“Are you not bothered because of illegal immigrants in Delhi? Should they be thrown out or not? About 100 crores infiltrators have entered our country and are eating the country like termites. Should we throw them out or not? .... They illegal immigrants) enter here, throw bombs and kill innocent citizens of the country. Should we not protect the human rights of our people?”

What happened thereafter should have been anticipated beforehand. Within a day several top functionaries of Bangladesh spoke out against the BJP President’s utterances without crossing the limits of diplomatic propriety. Bangladesh’s Information Minister Hassanul Haq Inu characterised Amit Shah’s statement as “inappropriate—it is not based on information and is unwanted”, adding: “We regard this as a private statement, and not of the government.”

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hassina’s media adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury noted: “It is India’s internal affair but if (there are) any consequences, we have reason to be concerned. We are already overburdened with Rohingya refugees. If any environment leads to more people coming from India, there are consequences for India, and will be again putting burden on Bangladesh.” He also observed that such statements create new disputes in the otherwise friendly relations between the two neighbours and could have “some souring effects on our friendly relationship”.

And BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s foreign affairs adviser Sabihuddin Ahmad claimed that when the BNP was in power “we always maintained that people who are Indians citizens and Indian voters are not migrants from Bangladesh”. He further took exception to the employment of the word “termites” for those considered illegal immigrants.

The reactions were understandably muted. However, they did convey the unease that Dhaka feels after such an outburst from none other than the chief of the ruling party in India. And Bangladesh is currently our closest friend in the neighbourhood.

However, we in this country are well aware of the dangerous and despicable game the BJP President is playing to divide the people on communal lines for electoral purposes. The BJP leaders accuse the Opposition of resorting to vote-bank politics whereas they themselves are actually doing the same—placating the majority community as against the Muslim minority for electoral benefit. The point is: if the Muslims are expelled from Assam they would have only West Bengal to turn to for resettlement resulting in huge problems for that State. But that is precisely what Amit Shah wants.

The ruling party’s diabolical move needs to be exposed and defeated at the earliest in the interest of national unity.

September 27 S.C.

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