Illegals must go but don’t harass Indian Muslims: Jamiat chief

August 19th, 2008 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Aug 19 (IANS) Illegal migrants from Bangladesh must be expelled from the country, says Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani, while cautioning the government against harassing Muslim citizens of India in the process.”Illegal migrants, whether Muslims or Hindus, must be detected and expelled in accordance with the due process of law. But hounding out people just because they are Muslims and (sport) a beard cannot be accepted. Care must be taken to make sure that genuine citizens are not humiliated during the detection process,” Maulana Madani told IANS.

The Maulana, known for his tough stand against terrorism, is here to participate in a conclave organised by the Assam unit of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Tuesday. It is being held in the backdrop of a sudden intensification of the movement against illegal Bangladeshi migration and charges that genuine Muslim citizens are being harassed.

“There have been many instances of student and youth activists rounding up suspected illegal migrants. This amounts to taking the law into one’s own hands. Illegal migrants must go but not a single genuine citizen can be thrown out,” said the Maulana, who teaches at the Darul Uloom seminary at Deoband.

The state Jamiat has invited leaders of the All Assam Students Union (AASU), at the forefront of the oust-Bangladeshi (read illegal migrants) campaign, besides political parties of all hues to the conclave.

“I am happy that the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam has promised to make sure no genuine Muslims are harassed while going ahead with the process of identifying illegal migrants. But promise must be translated into action,” Madani said.

Madani, who is a well known Islamic scholar, said his organisation can work together with groups like AASU so long as everybody accepts that the law cannot be violated and genuine citizens are not harassed.

The Assam Accord of 1985, which brought the curtains down on the six-year AASU-initiated anti-migrants’ stir in the 1980s, had fixed March 25, 1971 as the cut off date for detection and expulsion of illegal Bangladeshi migrants from the state.

As yet, however, not more than 2,000 illegal migrants have been expelled from Assam, a process that is not transparent in view of the fact that none of those expelled have been officially accepted by Dhaka.

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