Evaluating Arshad Madani’s Comments
The uproar in Assam over Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Maulana Syed Arshad Madani’s provocative statements at a seminar in the capital on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is understandable. According to media reports, he said that Assam would burn, and there will be a situation of “marenge, marenge, aag lagegi” like Myanmar if the names of Muslims did not find place in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The sharp reaction from civil society organisations and individuals to his statement was probably because they find it extremely difficult to accept the ground reality - that illegal Bangaldeshi migrants have overwhelmed Assam. The ‘khilonjia’ in Brahmaputra valley consisting of both the tribal and non-tribal communities never realised that detection and stringent preventive measures against the alien nationals ought to have been initiated four decades ago. Update of the NRC does not mean preventive measures. The exhaustive report submitted by former Assam Governor Lt Gen (Retd) SK Sinha in 1998 had been put on the backburner years ago.
Madani’s statement that Assam would burn if the names of Muslims were deleted from the list of citizens cannot be dismissed. If he is wrong, then the intelligence reports forecasting some trouble in Assam after the NRC update are also erroneous. This issue had also cropped up some weeks ago in the capital in a meeting between chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and home minister Rajnath Singh. Additional director general of police in charge of Special Branch, Pallab Bhattacharyya, had told this correspondent that a close tab was being kept on some Muslim organisations from south India and Noida whose activities have increased in the state and who might be trying to take advantage of the situation in Assam. There are also reports that migrants who know that their names would be deleted have begun to hold meetings to chalk out a strategy to avoid getting deported.
Why cannot we admit that we have failed ourselves? Why was Madani able to pass such provocative statements? Barring a few officials and politicians, there was no concern at all about the danger that had been looming in the horizon for the past so many decades.
But why cannot we accept the reality? Why cannot we admit that we have failed ourselves? Why was Madani able to pass such provocative statements? Barring a few officials and politicians, there was no concern at all about the danger that had been looming in the horizon for the past so many decades. The best example comes from the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and it even shook hands with the migrants to win the assembly polls in 1996. It did not require an Albert Einstein to realise that their numbers would only grow more in the future given that Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world.
Neither is there a plan to tackle the post-NRC scenario in Assam. Where will the migrants be deported? Quite naturally, Bangladesh has been reiterating that its citizens never migrated to Assam which means that these migrants can never be sent back to the neighbouring country. The governments, both at the Centre and state, are blissfully unconcerned thinking that the despatch of a few companies of the paramilitary would resolve the issue. But this could be a much larger problem at hand and unprecedented in the country. But a Myanmar type of situation where the military launched a brutal and planned crackdown in phases to decrease the Muslim presence in Rakhine state cannot be expected to happen in Assam or anywhere in India. And this is where Madani is absolutely wrong. This is something that he should not have uttered since it also amounts to provoking and sowing the seeds of strife between different communities. What was his motive?