Assam Elections: AIUDF Says Next Government Will Be Of People With Skull Caps, Lungis, And Beards

Assam Elections: AIUDF Says Next Government Will Be Of People With Skull Caps, Lungis, And BeardsMaulana Badruddin Ajmal and others in Jamunamukh (Photo: @BadruddinAjmal/Twitter)
Snapshot
  • The assertion by Abdur Rahim Ajmal, son of AIUDF chief Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, has drawn condemnation from many quarters.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which dons a ‘secular’ mask, has been exposed. And by none other than the son of the party founder Maulana Badruddin Ajmal.

Abdur Rahim Ajmal, who won from the Jamunamukh assembly seat in the Muslim-dominated Nagaon district of central Assam in 2016, said at an election rally on Friday (2 April) that the next government in Assam would be formed by “dadhi (beard), topi (skull cap), and lungi-clad people”.

According to this report in The Times of India, the junior Ajmal made this assertion at a rally at Bhabanipur in lower Assam’s Bajali district.

That he chose to say this in Bhabanipur is significant: the place is the home of Khargeswar Talukdar, the first martyr of the six-year-long anti-foreigners’ movement in Assam from 1979.

Talukdar, 22, was the general secretary of the Barpeta unit of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which was spearheading the agitation against infiltration and presence of millions of people of Bangladeshi-origin in Assam.

Khargeswar was beaten to death and his body thrown into a ditch on 10 December 1979 by a police force allegedly led by K P S Gill (who was a young Indian Police Service officer posted in Assam then). The young man was declared the first martyr of the Assam movement (read about him here and here).

The AIUDF was formed after the Supreme Court struck down the discriminatory Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act of 1983 in 2005.

The Act, which made the task of detecting foreigners virtually impossible, was challenged in the apex court by the present Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, who was a leader of the AASU then.

The AIUDF was then formed to provide political protection to Muslims of Bangladeshi-origin in Assam.

What is also significant is that the junior Ajmal made this assertion after the second phase of polling in Assam. Forty seats in 12 districts of Assam go to the polls in the third and last phase on 6 April.

Muslims are either in a majority or form a significant section of the electorate in as many as 25 of these 40 seats spread over lower Assam.

The first phase of polling was held in 47 seats across upper Assam and the north bank of the Brahmaputra. Hindus and the indigenous tribes of Assam are in a majority in all those seats.

The second phase of polling was held in 39 seats of Barak Valley and central Assam as well as pockets of lower Assam. Muslims either form a majority or are in substantial numbers in about 15 of these seats.

The Congress had joined hands with the AIUDF to form a broad alliance that comprised the communist parties, also to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP has been warning Assam’s electorate about where the AIUDF really stands, with Himanta Biswa Sarma telling the people of the state that voting for the Congress-AIUDF alliance would open the floodgates for a huge influx of Muslims from neighbouring Bangladesh.

But the Congress, and the AIUDF, have been rubbishing the allegations and asserting that the AIUDF is a secular party.

“Had this statement been made in the early phase of polling, it would have polarised Hindu and tribal voters and damaged the Congress’ electoral prospects. Hence, they (the AIUDF) exposed their actual agenda – of Bangladeshi-origin Muslims taking control of Assam – now,” said a senior BJP leader.

It must be noted that Maulana Ajmal and his son, as well as Bangladeshi-origin Muslims, wear lungis and skull caps, and sport beards.

The native Muslims of Assam avoid growing a beard and wear skull caps only while offering namaz. They never don the lungi and, as such, the three – lungi, skull cap, and beard – are associated with Bangladeshi-origin, Bengali-speaking Muslims.

Abdur Rahim Ajmal’s statement has drawn condemnation from many quarters. Significantly, Maulana Ajmal was present on the dais when his son made the outrageous statement.

Maulana Ajmal was earlier criticised when he flung a gamosa (Assamese scarf usually gifted to honour people) at a person on stage during an election rally.

Maulana Ajmal’s act was condemned by Prime Minister Modi, who had called it an ‘insult to Assam’.

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