Union minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday while coming out in stout defence of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam said that after Independence, “Pakistan resented Assam becoming a part of India, just like Kashmir”.
A report appearing in the The Times of India stated that Jaitley, in a Facebook blog, quoted excerpts from books written by the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and former President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to highlight the issue of infiltration across the Indo-Bangladesh border. The minister cited a paragraph from Bhutto’s book where it said that Assam is as critical to Pakistan as Kashmir.
The report further stated that the minister quoted the excerpts written in the book in his blog – “It would be wrong to say that Kashmir is the only issue that divides India and Pakistan, though undoubtedly the most significant. One at least is nearly as important as the Kashmir dispute, is that of Assam and some districts of India adjoining East Pakistan. To these Pakistan has very good claims.”
From Rahman’s book, titled ‘Eastern Pakistan, its Population and Economics’, the minister picked an excerpt where Rahman asserts that for East Pakistan to flourish it must include Assam to be “financially and economically strong because Eastern Pakistan must have sufficient land for its expansion and because Assam has abundant forest and mineral resources, coal, petroleum, etc., Eastern Pakistan must include Assam to be financially and economically strong.”
Ever since Independence, we had a significant influx of illegal migrants from East Pakistan. Because of ethnic and linguistic similarity and religious commonality, it was possible for these people together to avoid detection and find a shelter in Assam, the minister observed.