Meet held to distinguish between immigrant Muslims and Bangladeshi

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Guwahati, Aug 19 (UNI) An all-party meeting held today tried to emphasise the distinction between immigrant Muslims and Bangladeshi migrants but the token attendance reflected the differences between the indigenous Assamese people and the minority community.

The meet, held under the auspices of the Assam State Jamiat Ulema, was an attempt to ensure that Indian Muslims were not labelled Bangladeshis and harassed in the name of infiltration.

In a packed hall of Ulemas as well as Islamic scholars from across Assam, speaker after speaker made a distinction between foreigners and immigrant Muslims.

Veteran politician and senior lawyer Abdul Muhib Mazumdar said a vested section had always tried to exploit the situation by equating the immigrant Muslims and Bangladeshis.

Immigrant Muslims who settled in Assam before March 31, 1971 are considered Indian citizens as per the Assam Accord. But the All Assam Students Union(AASU) and other organisations claim that close to 40 lakh Bangladeshis were residing illegally in Assam.

This has created tension and for the past four days the Udalguri, Rowta and Dalgaon areas of central Assam were witnessing communal tension, forcing the authorities to order shoot-at-sight order.

Today's conclave, presided over by the Assam United Democratic Front(AUDF) President Badaruddin Ajmal, could be seen as attempt at reconciliation but non-participation by the AASU, AJYCP, the BJP and only a token representation by the AGP pointed to prevailing tension.

Addressing a press conference, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Presdent Syed Abdul Madani asserted that they would never allow harassment of Indian citizens in the name of Bangladeshi detection.

''We want the Bangladeshis to go but legally not forcefully,'' he said.

The AASU, however, alleged that the Bangladeshis had ''mastered the art of twisting the law and now control 35 per cent Assembly seats of Assam''.

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