Assam: The Mythology of "Immigrants" -Subodh Varma

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published Published on Aug 3, 2018   modified Modified on Aug 3, 2018
-Newsclick.in

Increase in Muslim population is not due to immigrants but because of higher birth rate, which is driven by poverty and illiteracy.

Assam’s Muslim population was recorded as about 34% of the state’s total population in 2011 Census. It was about 31% in 2001 and over 28% in 1991. That’s not much of an increase. Yet insidious political propaganda about rising Muslim population has swamped the minds of people, both in the state and elsewhere in the country. When coupled with the so-called illegal immigration from Bangladesh, this acquires fiery connotations, as was reflected in BJP President Amit Shah’s press conference on 31 July, a day after the final draft of the National Citizen’s Register (NCR) was released. The draft omitted names of over 40 lakh persons implying thereby that they are not citizens of India.

There have been numerous reports on how various families have been divided – some members are in the NRC list, others not. These point to various failures of the survey and recording system which will hopefully get corrected. But Shah’s linking of the NRC exercise to national security revealed the other agenda at work. Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh – by implication, Muslim immigrants – are posing a threat to national security and hence they should be deported. This segue from illegal immigrants to national security is part of the larger narrative of exploding Muslim population in Assam, and for the hard-core BJP/RSS supporters, even for the whole country.

Population Growth Rate
However, facts about Assam show that the flooding of the state by illegal immigrants is largely a myth, especially in the past two decades. Population growth rates of different religious communities (as recorded in various Censuses) show that the increase in Assam’s Muslim population is nowhere extraordinary.

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Newsclick.in, 1 August, 2018, https://newsclick.in/assam-mythology-immigrants


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