Sep 22, 2015 – MANOJ ANAND | GUWAHATI
Union minister of state Sarbananda Sonowal claimed that Assam faces a threat from illegal “Muslim” immigrants, and not from Hindu or other minorities facing religious persecution in other countries. His statement triggered a major controversy in Assam.
The Union minister. who was at the forefront of the anti-foreigners movement in the post-Assam-agitation days, said, “The growth of the Muslim population in the state has registered an alarming rate of 197.39 per cent as compared to the growth of the Hindu population at 80.9 per cent during the period 1971 to 2011.”
Mr Sonowal’s stand has left activists of the anti-foreigners movement baffled as Mr Sonowal had spearheaded as AASU leader a long agitation in the state demanding the expulsion of all immigrants, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Mr Sonowal, justifying the Central notification providing citizen status to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi and Christian minorities who entered the country before December 31, 2014, said, “The BJP has always been vigilant to this development and will always strive to ensure that political power does not go into the hands of illegal immigrants.”