GUWAHATI: Senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika today questioned chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma over his statement that a population explosion in Assam has been triggered by uncontrolled birth by the migrant Muslim community and the absence of family planning.
"The chief minister's view suggests that migration and illegal infiltration from Bangladesh is not the primary cause for demographic changes, rather it is the lack of birth control measures. This statement coming at this point is very strange and contrary to facts. If birth control were the sole means to restrict population growth, there was no need for the 6 years old Assam movement, NRC, etc," he said.
Claiming the CM's statements to be erroneous, Hazarika stated: "Firstly, over the last 30 years, Congress and BJP govt have given details from the floor of the legislature of the number of illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh into Assam. If Late Hiteshwar Saikia the then Chief Minister of Assam in 1992 gave a figure of 32 lakhs, Shri Prakash Jaiswal Union Minister of State in the UPA government gave a figure of 50 lakhs. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home in the first NDA government gave a figure of 80 lakh infiltrators from Bangladesh in Assam in Nov 2016. This number has been consistently 25% of Assam’s population. The supreme court in its judgement in December 2014 in the case of Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, reiterated the figure of 50 lakhs given by the UPA government. Coincidently, Himanta Biswa Sarma has been a member of all the ruling party (...) Why did he not then question these figures at that time?"
Hazarika then referenced a study by Professor Nandita Saikia of Jawaharlal Nehru University that even a higher fertility rate could not be the basis for an increase in the population of migrant Muslims from Bangladesh.
"The stand taken by the Chief Minister is also the stand taken by representatives of migrant Muslims from Bangladesh who seek to attribute their population explosion to a higher fertility rates and not due to migration," he said.
"In fact, a national daily from Delhi today has published a news item rebutting the CM’s claim based on Union Health Ministry figures that the net fertility rate amongst migrant Muslim women in Assam has declined from 3.6 to 2.4," Hazarika further added.
"It is relevant that the explanation trotted out by the Chief Minister is the same as given by Late Tarun Gogoi, then Chief Minister of Assam in an interview given on 10th of September 2012 where he stated that the demographic change in Assam is due to a higher birth-rate among migrant Muslims and not due to infiltration," he added.
"What is the purpose of the newly installed CM to make these kinds of statements?", Hazarika questioned, adding "he (Biswa Sarma) made a big announcement of all encroaches being evicted and backtracked now by saying that eviction is not the answer."
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