Taking a strong exception to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat's remark linking All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)'s growth and the immigration in the northeast, the party chief Badruddin Ajmal on Thursday said the Army Chief has been misinformed and misguided.
Ajmal had earlier tweeted that parties like AIUDF and AAP have grown because of the misgovernance of big parties.
Addressing the media today, Ajmal said, "We respect General Rawat a lot but I think he has been misinformed and misguided."
"If Army chief is saying that demographic change is happening in Assam then it is the government's job to check it. We are the only party which said that shoot anyone who infiltrates into our borders," he added.
Ajmal said that AIUDF is a secular party and should not be seen as a 'Muslim party'.
"People say we are a Muslim party which is false. We've always given 20-25 seats to our Hindu Brothers in all elections. Muslims brothers had also laid down their lives for the freedom struggle. We're Indians. Let us live with the dignity of an Indian," he added.
The controversy started after General Rawat spoke of proxy warfare in the Northeast by Pakistan with help from China and the "planned" influx of Bangladeshi immigrants. He also referred to Ajmal's AIDUF in connection with reports of an increase in Muslim population in several districts of Assam.
"I think the government is looking at the Northeast with correct perspective...With development will come control of the people residing in this area. I don't think now you can change the population dynamics of this region... there is a party called AIUDF. It has grown at a faster rate than the BJP has over the years. The AIUDF is moving at a faster pace in the state of Assam."
The AIUDF, which was formed in 2005 with an aim to champion the cause of Muslim community, currently has three MPs in the Lok Sabha and 13 legislators in the state assembly.