In Blunder#5 detailed earlier we saw how Nehru’s wrong decision ultimately resulted in adverse demographic changes in Assam, with the influx of Muslims from East Bengal. Taking note of that, any nationalist, concerned about the fate of the indigenous people, their property, their well- being and their culture in Assam, would have ensured that the Muslims migrations from East Bengal were stemmed at least after independence, with the power in our hands. Unfortunately, even after independence, the Government remained ostrich-like, and demographic invasion continued.

What became paramount for the Congress and Nehru after independence were votes—Muslim migrants swelled their vote bank. Why not then turn a blind eye to it, even if the people of Assam and the Northeast suffer! And, all that despite severe opposition of many local Congress leaders like Gopinath Bordoloi and Medhi, who considered such vote-bank politics to be effectively anti-national. Here are extracts from an article titled ‘How Bangladeshi Muslims wiped the Assamese out in their own land’ :
“After partition, the Assamese people expected that there would not be any further trans-migration of Muslims from East Pakistan to their new political territory. Muslim populations in Assam considerably decreased in 1947 partly due to inclusion of Sylhet in Pakistan and also return of sizeable number of earlier immigrants to their original land due to fear of backlash. But the situation changed, when Mainul Haq Chaudhary, the Private Secretary of Jinnah and also a prominent leader of the youth wing of AIML till partition, joined Congress party along with the supporters of Pakistan en-mass. On the eve of partition, he was shaky whether to opt for Pakistan or stay back in India. He was however told by Jinnah, ‘wait for ten years, I shall present Assam on a silver plate to you’. Jinnah died in 1948 but the Congress Party fulfilled his promise by inducting Chaudhary in the Cabinet of Congress Government led by Gopi Nath Bordoloi. It is often alleged that Chaudhary stayed back in Assam on the advice of Jinnah and other Pakistani leaders to help the immigrants from Pakistan for their settlement in Assam…
“Against the evil geo-political design of Pakistan, which scared the Assamese middle class of the threat to their marginalisation in their own land, Government of India never had any organised plan or definite policy. Nehru-Liaquat Pact (April 1950)… rather facilitated the Pakistan Government to accelerate infiltration… It is said that the Congress leadership applauded the increase of Muslim immigrants as a God sent opportunity to consolidate the ‘Muslim vote banks’ and accordingly ruled Assam without any break for thirty years…
“Moinul Huq Choudhury, who later became a Minister in the Union Cabinet of Indira Gandhi Government and former President of India Fakharuddin Ali Ahmad were widely known for being instrumental in the settlement of illegal Muslim immigrants. Late B.K. Nehru, the Governor of Assam between 1968 and 1973, condemned the infiltration as vote bank politics by the Congress.”

Congress leaders Bordoloi, Medhi, Bimala Prasad Chaliha and others raised this serious issue of migration, but did not get due support from Nehru and the Congress leadership at the Centre. Wrote Kuldip Nayar in ‘Beyond the Lines’:
“The state subsequently paid the price…when illegal migration from the then East Pakistan reduced the Assamese-speaking population in Assam to a minority… It was not Chaliha who initiated the issue of illegal migration but his senior in the Congress, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, who rose to be India’s president. In fact, the entire party was guilty. Its simplistic solution was to win elections in Assam by allowing would-be settlers from across the border into the state thus creating a vote bank… [Gobind Ballabh]Pant [the then Home Minister in Nehru’s cabinet] knew that large number of people were coming across the border. After all, his party had connived at the migration since independence…”

In early sixties, Assam Chief Minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha launched an aggressive campaign to flush out the immigrants. However, Nehru wanted him to go easy on deportations and even stop them!

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