A statement by the Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat has stirred a row and has got voices raised going as far as barring army chiefs from contesting polls for 5 years after retirement.
Gen Bipin Rawat’s statement at a conference organized by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on the issues facing the North East region became a hot topic of controversy. General Rawat claimed that a ‘planned’ influx from Bangladesh is taking place as part of proxy warfare by Pakistan with support from China, with an aim to keep the area under disturbance. Taking the names of two political parties and referring to the increase in the Muslim population in the state of Assam, Gen Bipin Rawat said, “There is a party called AIUDF. If you look at it, they have grown at a faster rate than the BJP grew over the years. The AIDUF is moving at a faster pace in Assam.”
The naming of the political parties has not gone well with the people who believe that with this statement, Gen Rawat has not only given the entire issue a communal color but also, compromised with the neutrality and secularism of the Army. He received a lot of flak for his statement. Leading the attack was Asaduddin Owaisi, who told that it is not ‘army chief’s job to comment on political parties.’. The chief of AIUDF Maulana Badruddin Ajmal in his tweet condemned the ‘political statement’ made by Gen Rawat and advised the army chief to not exceed his constitutional mandate.
What,the Army Chief should not interfere in political matters it is not his work to comment on the rise of a political party ,Democracy & Constitution allows it and Army will always work under an Elected Civilian leadership https://t.co/PacWqqYXz1
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) February 22, 2018
— Sudheendra Kulkarni (@SudheenKulkarni) February 23, 2018
The statement also drew sharp criticism from almost every opposition party but former Chief Minister of Assam and veteran Congress leader, Tarun Gogoi took it a notch up by suggesting that the chief of the army should not be allowed to contest elections for at least 5 years post the retirement. This is aimed at discouraging the generals from cozying up to the ruling party in order to make a political platform for themselves. As the congress leader said, “this is to ensure they do not hobnob with the ruling party towards the end of their service to fulfill their political ambitions.” Referring to the MoS for External Affairs, Tarun Gogoi said that after Gen VK Singh there is now a growing tendency among generals to get into politics post retirement.
However, in this hullabaloo about the Gen Rawat’s alleged political remarks and his potential political ambitions, what was lost was the issue that the General had raised. The fact that the demographics are changing in the North East and that there is massive infiltration which may very well be planned, still remains. The issue of infiltration and changing demography is one that touches upon a number of sensitive points of politics, national security, faith, identity and ideology. As somebody responsible for security issues of the country and more importantly, as a citizen of the country, Gen Rawat was well within his limits to raise the issue. To allege that General Rawat issued a false statement driven solely by political motives is a going a bit too far. General Rawat may or may not have exceeded his mandate but Tarun Gogoi has certainly exceeded his limits.
Assam was a Congress bastion which Gogoi used to run like his own fief. For all we know, Gogoi Jr. was being groomed for Chief Minister post. PM Modi, in one of his state election campaign speeches, spoke of how the BJP’s electoral battle in the state, was not against any individual; but instead against the poverty and destruction of Assam carried out under the watch of the Tarun Gogoi led incumbent government in the state.
It is extremely necessary that rest of the country understands the full extent of the predicaments faced by the population of the Assam; problems which are compounded by the mass immigration of illegal Bangladeshi’s into Assam over the years; and particularly during the last more than one decade, under the tacitly supportive watch of a Tarun Gogoi led Congress government; a problem that had already markedly transformed the demographic of a state, which witnessed the highest decadal population growth of Muslims, which went up by an abnormal 3.3 percentage points, as compared to the national average of 0.8 percentage points i.e. from 30.9% in 2001 (which was the year in which Tarun Gogoi was elected to power) to 34.2% in 2011; with this growth rate being surprisingly higher in those districts of Assam that were located away from the border with Bangladesh a fact which reflects the apathy of the Previous Gogoi Government in Assam which turned a blind eye to the infiltration and free movement of illegal aliens within the state; along with the rampant state level corruption that enabled these illegal aliens to procure official Indian identification and easily enroll themselves in the state’s voter lists.
One must thank Himanta Biswa Sarma for snatching Assam from Congress and saving from an impending doom. Tarun Gogoi’s angst against General Rawat is natural, because the general has blown his cover. Gogoi’s cleverly concealed secret is out.