Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma gave an interview to Times Now over the recent border clashes with Mizoram where six Assam Police personnel lost their lives. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that these are legacy issues which are the consequence of the borders not being demarcated clearly.
He said that these are complicated issues that must be resolved through dialogue and that history cannot be ignored. He also added that the will of the people and administrative convenience cannot be negated.
The Assam Chief Minister also said that the travel advisory against his citizens visiting Mizoram was necessary in order to prevent a flare-up. He said that due to the travel advisory, the situation could be brought under control in a week.
Assam CM on border conflict with Mizoram
During the interview, the journalist mentioned that there were allegations by Mizoram that Assam has too many illegal immigrants and therefore, Assam wants to settle them inside Mizoram. The Assam CM responded, “The illegal Bangladeshi means Muslim. The Muslim has not voted me a single vote during elections. So who are the illegal Bangladeshis on that side? All the immigrant Muslims.”
“If somebody says that Muslims voted for Himanta Biswa Sarma, this country will laugh. I told on the election meeting that please do not vote for us. Then how can they vote for me? So these are allegations said on the time of some tensions. They have to justify their action, I understand. But if people of India comes to know that BJP’s trying to to give settlement to the illegal Bangladeshi Muslim and they voted for us, we lost all the seats there,” he added.
He continued, “These are statistics. At least in Assam, nobody (no Muslims) voted for us. These are the statement on fact. I mean, you go by one by one polling booth, not a single vote was cast to BJP. We work for them, that is a different subject but the reality of the life is, for Himanta Biswa Sarma, for Sarbanand Sonowal, in Assam not a single Muslim voted for us.”
The Assam CM also said that if someone claims that he is trying to settle illegal Bangladeshi Muslims, then they would not have brought NRC. He said that they wish to expel all such settlers.
Sarma said, “PM Narendra Modi spoke to me right at the beginning of the dispute. He is extremely pained. He feels that northeastern states should remain united and contribute towards the development of the country. He told that such disputes are painful for the entire nation. He is concerned about the country. He considers Assam-Mizoram border dispute a national issue. He is ready to take any initiative to solve this.”
“When Home Minister visited Assam and Shillong, he advised us to resolve the border dispute. This is long-run process, this border dispute is not recent… These are long-standing problem and we need to resolve it after discussion and consultation…The visit of Home Minister and the recent border clash are not related to each other because Amit Shah given us a roadmap to resolve the dispute and his advice was not specific to any particular borders but was about resolving complex issue,” he stated.
Sarma said that the short term objective is to maintain peace at the Assam-Mizoram border. One of the solutions he proposed was to ensure that no settlements are permitted in the disputed forests from either side. But he said that the issues will linger before they are solved but the best to hope in the short term future is to avoid confrontation.
“I am extremely proud”: Assam Cm Himanta Biswa Sarma on anti-beef consumption law
With regards to law against the cow slaughter than bans the practice within a 5 kilometer radius of a Temple, the journalists pointed out that India has a Temple every 2 kilometer. Sarma said, “It’s good.. (Temples) should be constructed so that beef consumption goes down.”
Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Mahatma Gandhi wants to protect cows and he is a “blind follower” of Gandhi, so he wants to protect cows too. When questioned whether he has implemented the law so that people cannot eat beef, he responded, “Kyu khaana hai? (Why do they want to eat (beef)?”
He said that the people of Assam from both communities are happy with the law and confirmed, “I am extremely proud. I am proud of this law.” He also said that the journalist was making a “very big statement” when she said that Assamese Hindus eat beef, vehemently denying that they do.