Posted January 18, 2011
By Anjuman Ara Begum
Guwahati: Badruddin Ajmal, Member of Parliament from Dhubri Lok Sabha constituency in Assam and President of Assam United Democratic Front, has opposed the idea of work permit to ‘illegal migrants’ in the state, saying job should be given to unemployed citizens of the country first.
Speaking on the political perspective of Muslims in Assam at a conference on “Muslims in Assam: Challenges and Opportunities” here on 17th January, perfume baron Ajmal said the idea of granting work permit to the ‘illegal immigrants’ is a BJP agenda and his party AUDF is against it.
“There are 20-25 lakh unemployed youths in our state and we need to provide work to them. Why should we employ citizens of other countries by providing them work permit? Bangladeshis must be detected and deported. Work permit is not the solution,” said Ajmal at the second day of 2-day conference organized by city-based Centre for Peace and Development at hotel Gateway Grandeur, Guwahati. The conference was attended by eminent scholars, activists and prominent citizens.
In his speech, Ajmal pointed out several factors detrimental for the development of the Muslims in Assam. He said, “A country cannot progress without the progress of this percentage of Muslims. Today
Muslims in India are the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. Assam has about 30% Muslim population. Sachar Committee has recommended for affirmative action for the minority communities in India. In Assam, Muslim population remains sufferer on the issues of citizenship, displacement, erosion of river basins and many other issues.”
Citizenship is the biggest issue in the state. Bengali speaking Muslims have to pay a heavy price for that in the form of Nellie
massacre. No enquiry and no compensation took place in that case. Recently similar incidents were repeated like the police firing in Barpeta and Rongia and the question of justice and compensation is again denied. Devastation by river Brahmaputra in the form of erosion of the river basin has displaced thousands mainly Muslim population. Misery of this displaced population is never accounted for but it
remained a major issue for the Muslims living at the river basins. People are living in slums and as street dwellers. This is also a major issue. Many people are displaced due to natural calamities.
With facts and figures, he pointed out that discriminatory attitudes by the administration towards the Muslims in employment remained a major concern.
In 2010, 319 people were recruited in the state secretariat – only 6% of them were Muslim. Out of 25 DSPs (Deputy Superintendent of Police) recruited, only 2 were Muslims. Of 142 typists recruited, Muslims were only 11. In health sector, out of 33 surveillance officers recruited in Dhubri district, a Muslim majority district, but only 2 are Muslims. In Sivsagar district sericulture department out of 173 posts, the Muslim percentage is nil. He said that out of 90 minority concentrated districts in India, 13 districts are in Assam and 60% of Muslims in rural Assam is below poverty level. Muslim literacy rate in Assam is 48% and Muslim female literacy rate is only 38%.
In a brief interaction with the audience after his speech, Ajmal said that Muslim politicians of all parties from Assam have utterly failed to raise in the Parliament the challenges faced by the minority community in the state.
He also expressed unhappiness on the fact that till today there had not been any inquiry by the Government in the massacre at Nellie that took place in 1983. He expressed his concerns regarding the implementation of the Prime Minister’s schemes for welfare of the minorities under 15-Point Programme. He also said that the absence of strong Muslim political leaders proved disadvantageous for the upliftment of the community.
*Posted on http://www.twocircles.net