September 24, 2015

India: JNU Protest against allowing immigration into Assam - What kind of a xenophobic posture is this ?

[ It is one thing to protest the communal nature of the notifiaction declaring its intent to allow all Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to the minority communities only, but to stand up for the Assam Accord of 1985 to prevent any settlement by cross border immigrants is pure and simple xenophobic nationalism ... see report below]


Protests in JNU against MHA notification on immigration into Assam

Shreya Roy Chowdhury, TNN | Sep 24, 2015, 12.14 PM IST

Protests in JNU against MHA notifiaction declaring its intent to allow all Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to the minority communities, who sought shelter before December 31, 2014.
NEW DELHI: On Sunday, a number of student organisations joined hand in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi to protest against the recent decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow migrants from Bangladesh to settle in Assam on the basis of religion. The organizations that took part in the protest included the Assam Study Circle JNU, JNU Students' Union(JNUSU), All India Students Association (AISA), All India Students Federation (AISF), Chatra Mukti Sangram Samiti, Democratic Students Federation (DSF), Khasi Students Union of Delhi, Mishing Students Association of Delhi and Students Federation of India (SFI).

The students were protesting against a September 7 notice sent to Assam by the centre declaring its intent to allow all Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to the minority communities (Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists), who sought shelter before December 31, 2014, "due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution" in their country, to stay in India without documents.

"This move, which completely violates the recommendations of the Assam Accord of 1985, is a nefarious design to communalise the political space in Assam," says a statement issued collectively by the protestors. "First, the watershed year of 1971 for identification of 'foreigners', which had been unanimously accepted has been changed to 2014. Second, the Assam Accord insisted on identification of 'foreigners', Hindus, Muslims or of any other religion, without any prejudice. This has been violated by the recent decision... leading towards a very communally polarised atmosphere in the state. Third, no representatives of any political party, ethnic organisations, students groups or civil society groups from Assam were consulted in any manner before the centre came to the said decision", said a joint statement by the organisations, "If Hindu Bangladeshis need to be rehabilitated in India, then the question arises here is why a politically tumultuous, underdeveloped and resource-short state like Assam will have to bear the largest share of them? Why can't geographically larger and economically advantageous states with more resources also share the responsibility of receiving the displaced persons from Bangladesh, in accordance with their capacity?"

Sandipan Talukdar, a research scholar from Delhi University said that this attempt to communalise the politics in Assam will "dilute the harmonious relationship between various ethnic groups in the state." Kanhaiya Kumar, the President of JNUSU asked why no democratic processes were followed by the centre before coming to this decision. "This decision threatens to erase the identity of the indigenous people of the state," he said adding that "similar techniques of overpopulating states with population from outside the states, to gain votes, have been practiced throughout India in recent times." AISA's Shweta Raj argued that Assam was always known for diversity and this "attempt of communalising the situation in the state in view of 2016 elections will strike at the very core of this diversity."

Kiran Pegu, from Mishing Students Association of Delhi said that at present the rights of the Mishing people and all the tribal people of Assam is at threat due to this rampant migration. He urged the government to take requisite steps to safeguard the rights of the people of Assam. Shaheen Ahmed, a research scholar from JNU hailing from Assam, observed that earlier, religious tensions rarely existed between Hindus and Muslims in Assam and they lived in harmony. "Muslims in Assam always took pride in their identity as Assamese. Only after the Partition were the seeds of communalism sowed in Assam. Its grown needs to be checked by both Hindus and Muslims together," Shaheen added. Simon, President of Khasi Students Union of Delhi mentioned that the rights of the tribal people in north-east India has been affected by rampant illegal migration. Not only Assam but all the states need to take a stand against it together, he said.