GUWAHATI, April 9 - Though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance Government in the State is trying to appease the indigenous Muslim communities with its announcement that a separate development corporation would be formed for them and a socio-economic survey would also be carried out to assess their status, however, leading personalities of the community termed this announcement as nothing but a political gimmick.
Some of them also view it as a ploy to divide the Muslims of the State.
Talking to this newspaper, noted political scientist Prof Abu Nasser Saied Ahmed said that the above announcement of the State Government is aimed at dividing the Muslim communities of the State, including the indigenous Muslim communities per se. And this will thus rob us of the strength to stand united on common issues.
Assam has around 34.24 per cent Indian Muslims and in absolute figure, their number will be more than one crore. Of them, East Bengal-origin Muslims constitute around 24 lakh, and the rest, around 76 lakh, comprise the Barak Valley and the Brahmaputra Valley-origin ones.
Of the State�s 126 Legislative Assembly Constituencies (LACs), the number of Muslim-dominated constituencies stands at 23, with the percentage of Muslim voters in these constituencies ranging between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of the total voters. In seven other LACs, the percentage of Muslim voters is in the range of 42 per cent to 49 per cent. In general, Muslim voters are thus a determining factor in 30 LACs of the State.
Because of the British-introduced Line System in the State, East Bengal-origin Muslims have a concentration in most of these LACs. But the indigenous Muslims are not living in a concentrated manner in their native places located in the Central and Upper Assam areas.
Hence, they are not the determining factors in these areas. Of course, in both the Lower Assam districts of Dhubri and Goalpara, they are found living in somewhat concentrated manner, said Prof Ahmed.
Another leading political scientist Prof Manirul Hussain, the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Chair Professor of the Jamia Milia University�s Centre for NE Studies and Policy Research, viewed the above announcement of the State Government as a �doubtful� one. �There is something doubtful. This Government is a communal one, there is no doubt about it,� he said.
He further maintained that the BJP does not have any commitment towards secularism. It is harassing the Muslims selectively in Assam in the context of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC). It is emphatic enough as to whom they will be protecting and whom they will be targeting for harassment, said Prof Hussain.
Former Principal of Assam Medical College (AMC) Dr Taufique Rahman Borbora said, �One cannot trust the BJP. They are always anti-Muslim.�
Senior advocate of the Gauhati High Court Akdas Ali Mir described it as a political move. This announcement of the Government is not at all a genuine one. �The Government has not demonstrated any sincerity to implement the above announcement,� he said.
Noted petrochemical engineer Kamruz Zaman Ahmed also said, �It seems to be a political move.�
Former senior bureaucrat Nurul Haque said, �The above announcement is made on paper only. It�s not a genuine one. There is no heart in this announcement. It is aimed only at misleading the indigenous Muslim communities.�