August 2, 2018

Like Kashmir, Pakistan resented Assam as part of India: Arun Jaitley defends NRC

Union minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday came out in defence of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) saying that after Independence Pakistan resented Assam becoming a part of India, just like Kashmir.

Jaitley, in a Facebook blog, quoted excerpts from books written by former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and former President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to highlight the issue of infiltration across the Indo-Bangladesh border.

The minister cited a paragraph from Bhutto's book where it said that Assam is as critical to Pakistan as Kashmir.

“It would be wrong that Kashmir is the only issue that divides India and Pakistan, though undoubtedly the most significant. One at least is nearly as important as the Kashmir dispute, is that of Assam and some districts of India adjoining East Pakistan. To these Pakistan has very good claims,” the minister quoted the book excerpt in his blog.

From Rahman's book, titled ‘Eastern Pakistan, its Population and Economics’, the minister picked an excerpt where Rahman asserts that for East Pakistan to flourish it must include Assam to be "financially and economically strong".

Jaitley's blog was written in the wake of a debate over the release of second and final draft of the NRC in Assam. The register of citizen has been at the centre of controversy after it excluded over 40 lakh people from its list.

Despite government's clarification that the draft is not final and every person not part of the list will be given a chance to prove their case, the opposition has been up in arms against the list terming it as a game plan of the government to consolidate its vote bank.

Jaitley joined the long list of ministers in the Union government and BJP leaders who have defended the NRC list.In his blog, the minister cited an observation made by the Supreme Court in a 2005 case between the present Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal and the Union of India.

The court had observed that unchecked population movement from Bangladesh, coupled with the rise of Islamic extremism in the neighbouring country, will "turn these districts into a Muslim majority region".

"Nobody could have put it better," Jaitley wrote approving the apex court's observation.

The minister also highlighted the fact that the issue of detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants was certified by none other than Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi when they got into an agreement with Bangladesh in 1972 and 1984.

Jaitley also raised the issue illegal immigrants in West Bengal and quoted Mamata Banerjee raising concerns over infiltration in her state in Lok Sabha in 2005.

The minister accused both the Congress and TMC chiefs of retracting stands on this issue.

"Though Mrs Indira Gandhi and Mr Rajiv Gandhi took a particular position in 1972 and 1985 for the deletion and deportation of foreigners, Rahul Gandhi takes a contrarian position and his party turns turtle. Similarly, the BJP ally of 2005, Ms Mamata Banerjee, took a particular position. As a federal front leader, she now talks to the contrary," he wrote.


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