AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal today criticised Army Chief Bipin Rawat for his “politically driven comments” and said his responsibility is to lead the armed forces for the security of the nation and not to monitor the growth of a political party.
The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief said that he would meet President Ram Nath Kovind , Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Rajnath Singh to seek clarification.
“We respect Rawat as the Army chief but the comments made by him on AIUDF is not within his constitutional jurisdiction and we have sought appointment with the President, Prime Minister and Union Home minister to seek clarification,” Ajmal told media persons in Guwahati.
Ajmal’s statement came in response to Rawat’s statement yesterday that AIUDF’s growth has been “faster” than that of the BJP in the 1980s. The Army chief was referring to reports of increase in Muslim population in several Assam districts.
Addressing a seminar in New Delhi yesterday, the Army chief had also said that a “planned” influx of people from Bangladesh into the Northeast is taking place as part of proxy warfare by Pakistan with support from China with an aim to keep the area disturbed.
Ajmal said he was deeply hurt by the “politically driven comments” of the Army chief.
“The Constitution has given army chief the responsibility to lead the armed forces for the security of the nation and not to monitor the growth of a political party,” he said.
The Army chief’s comments that the AIUDF has grown at a faster rate in Assam due to immigration from Bangladesh is “absolutely false and politically motivated,” he said.
“We have an emotional relationship with our armed forces who protect us and provide us security facing immense hardships. We are proud of our soldiers and it is our duty to boost their morale. General Rawat, as the head of such a force, has undermined the dignity of his post by making such statements,” he said.
He said that the Army chief’s comments are “absolutely baseless as is evident from the results of the last three Assembly polls.
AIUDF had won 10 seats in 2006, 18 in 2011 and 13 in 2016, Ajmal, party MP from Dhubri said.
Noting that Assam has a Muslim population of 34 per cent, he said, according to the Army chief’s statements, AIUDF should have got the entire Muslim vote but it secured only 13 per cent Muslim votes in the last election.
He said that the growth of the AIUDF is not abnormal but that of the BJP can be called meteoric as it won more than 60 seats in the last Assembly elections compared to only five polls before that.
AIUDF is a democratic and secular party which has given tickets to many non-Muslim candidates in the elections and “we have representatives from other communities in both the state Assembly and Parliament,” he said.
Regarding the demographic change in Assam, Ajmal said it is the responsibility of the central government to deal with the situation.
“AIUDF is committed to the updation of the national register of citizens (NRC) and maintains that any person who has entered the state after the cut-off date of March 25, 1971 from Bangladesh should be sent back,” he said.
It was the BJP which wanted to delay the NRC updation process and the Supreme Court had to intervene to fix the date for the release of the final draft.
“We want a correct NRC and genuine citizens should not be harassed. It is an insult for any genuine citizen to be accused of being a foreigner which we will not tolerate,” Ajmal said.