Assam Finance Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that the fight with Bangladeshi Muslims is on ethnic lines and not on religious basis as it is made out to be, and that Indian Muslims are different.
Sarma, in an interview with the Indian Express, said that the government has no problem with the “indigenous” Muslims and that it is proactively working for the welfare of the economically disadvantaged minorities in Assam.
On the question of politicians’ sentiments about Bangladeshi Muslims being generalised to mean all Muslims, Sarma said, “That’s wrong. We should not have any grievances against Muslims who are part of India, who have equal rights as me or any other Indian citizen. I have a secular mindset. Though I understand secularism in my own way, I have full respect for Muslims in general. Our fight with Bangladeshi Muslims is on ethnic lines not on religious lines. Assamese Muslims understand this.”
Citing examples of some Bangladeshi migrants arrested for posting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ after Balakot air strikes, he said that they are posing a civilisational challenge to us. “But Assamese Muslims, Muslims from UP or Bihar are different. Those interpreting our fight against Bangladeshi Muslims as a fight against Muslims are wrong. We are not against Indian Muslims,” Sarma said, as reported by IE.