“D” Voters: Crying Wolf

Book: Assam’s “Doubtful Citizens” - Fact or Fiction   Author: Kamaluddin Ahmad   Publisher: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi   Year: 2011   Pages: 62   ISBN: 10:81-7221-051-5   Price: Rs 60

Thanks to “Cry Wolf” propaganda a non-issue has assumed catastrophic dimension in which “D” (Doubtful/Disputed) voters have been marginalised to become the “Damned” ones. Three decade long tirade with blessings from top bureaucrats like S.K. Shakdar (former Election Commissioner) and S.K. Sinha (former governor) have created a category of citizens who suffer daunting predicaments much more than foreign citizens who, at least, enjoy more benefits than them.

The tall claims of ‘millions of Bangladeshi infiltrators’ have time and again been proved baseless by various agencies of the state. Shakdar’s so-called “startling revelation” proved to be ridiculous. What started as a native/non native dispute against Bengali Hindus by sheer manipulation at the hands of AASU and then BJP has turned into a hate campaign against Bengali Muslims. It is surprising that a state that gave the country a President (Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad) and a Prime Minster for two terms (Manmohan Singh) is reeling under a menace which its own machinery fails to contain.

Kamaluddin Ahmad with the help of census reports busts the myth of exponential growth of the Muslim population. While the national rate of growth from 1941-1961 was 14.23, 13,31 and 21.64 percent Assam shows the growth rate of 20.07, 19.94 and 34.97 is not a phenomenal rise, because it is to some extent due to mass immigration – British policy, partition of the country, arrival of Hindi speaking Rajasthanis in search of greener pastures. During this period it was not the Muslim population that swelled but the Hindu Bangladeshis who preferred to migrate from East Pakistan.

What began as a movement to protest against “the cultural imperialism” of Hindu Bengalis deteriorated in the hands of AASU under one pretext or the other. Under the plea that 85 to 90 lakh foreigners have been living in Assam and exercising franchise the movement gained momentum with the passing of Illegal Migrants Determination Tribunal (IMDT) act; it was later repealed under the Assam Accord followed by several other developments.

The present day crisis reached its climax when the Guwahati High Court in its order dated 21 April 2011 asked the state government to put all “D Voters” behind bars in detention camps. However, the Division bench on 15 August 2011 granted them relief from the agony of detention camps.

The author, shows with statistics, how out of 83, 471 disposed cases (out of 2, 21,936) only 5577 proved to be foreigners. Cases of 1, 57, 465 “D” Voters are yet to be decided. Menwhile they suffer deprivation of several benefits.

Kamaluddin Ahmad must be complimented for exposing a highly publicised lie, a lie for which AASU, BJP and S.K. Sinha played a very significant role. Pharos Media is highlighting Muslims’ tryst with destiny in its various publications covering Kashmir, Manipur and now Assam.