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05 September 2012

INTERVIEW: We want justice. Muslims’ loyalty to India cannot be doubted, says AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal

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“We want justice. Muslims’ loyalty to India cannot be doubted,” says the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief and Member of Parliament from Dhubri, Assam, Badruddin Ajmal in a candid conversation with Manzar Imam.

“About a month before violence flared up in Assam, some newspapers had reported that the Home Ministry had warned of a big incidence there. Because since one month before the current violence broke, sporadic cases of killing and murder of one person here, two persons there, some two people here four people there were continuing but no attention was paid to them. If government had worked swiftly, it could have been averted. The government remained a mute spectator. There has been huge negligence on the part of the government. India Today reports that the Chief Minister wanted to promote his son. The CM wanted to bring his son to the Lok Sabha for which he allowed this violence. One of his ministers has alleged that. He wanted to give the message that he did not need minority vote. Whatever their internal differences, such aggression and loss cannot be justified. We had made 24000 packets to distribute among flood affected people when floods had displaced thousands of people and a boat had capsized, but suddenly this happened and we asked our people to leave the flood issue there and look for the safety and security of the people. We have called for medical teams from different states. Medicines are required. Whatever medicines are provided by the government are actually very less. So far there are 45000 people in camps in Kokrajhar alone. Some are hiding in forests and other areas. Around 5500,000 people are displaced. Roads are dilapidated in Assam. Women walk upto 15 kilometers holding their babies. Many people have died. So far government agencies have reported 78 deaths.* Actual figures cannot be known unless people are finally settled. The number of relief camps is very less. Available camps are crammed with people. In camps in schools with a capacity of 2000 to 2500 there are 12000 people living there. Even Rajesh Pilot (former Home Minister) had said that the demand for a separate Bodo land was not possible because they were “a minority in their proclaimed land”. The agreement [Bodoland Accord] that the government has done be reviewed and modified. And justice should be done to all. This is not a Muslim and Bodo issue. This is a Bodo and non-Bodo issue. The Bodos have killed people from time to time. They have killed Hindus, Santhals, Nepalis, Marwaris and Bengali Hindus. Muslims were killed first in 1993-4, before that they (Bodos) have killed many Adivasis and Hindus. This time they have killed mostly Muslims. The loyalty of Muslims cannot be doubted. After Partition Muslims had lots of options, not just Pakistan, they had many other options. But they chose to live in India because they love their country.

They are Indians by birth and by choice. I am not blaming anyone. There are huge number of Hindus and people of other communities who hold fast secular values and raise their voice in favour of Muslims whenever their loyalty is questioned. Some people are talking about Bangladeshis. We have welcomed it. If there are any Bangladeshis, government should identify and arrest them. But innocent people should not be harassed. We are seeking legal help and will continue to fight till the case is resolved. Relief and compensation should reach the affected people. I have asked the Prime Minister and even Madam (UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi) to send a central team to distribute the amount the PM has announced as compensation, because if the amount goes to the state government or the Bodos it will amount to a gift for what they have done there. We want peace. Confidence among people needs to be restored. Both parties [Bodos and non-Bodos] should be made to sign a bond that even if one more person is killed they will be prosecuted. They have killed people in “filmy” style. It was organized, people were killed, their houses set afire and properties looted. This is very unfortunate.”

*This was the official death toll at the time of interview as told by the AIUDF chief as also revealed by some official reports. However, there have been reports in newspapers of more deaths later.

[A Delhi-based Journalist Manzar Imam is Special Correspondent of IndianMuslimObserver.com and a research scholar at MMAJ Academy of International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He can be reached at manzarimam@rediffmail.com]

2 comments:

  1. we should raise our voice

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  2. What nonsense this man is talking? Mr Ajmal you were the one to incite this violence. Original Assamese muslims unlike you have voiced against you for spreading hatred against NEians. For vote bank you have invited Bangladeshis to Assam. Latest news is that thousands have vanished from camps passing to other distritcs of Banagldesh as no document is present with them to show they are Indians and they could be detected and deported. Pls study those before giving false interview.,huh!

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