Muslims in Assam, who have been at the receiving end since the violent agitation broke out in the name of ‘illegal migrants’ in late seventies, felt secure when the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) was formed in 2005 the state. However, their expectations were dashed very soon following Maulana Badruddin Ajmal’s alleged hobnobbing with communal forces in order to expand his political and business fortunes. This was revealed by AIUDF MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed who was suspended by Ajmal as he was raising voice against the opportunistic policies of the party leadership.
In an exclusive interview with the Syed Zubair Ahmad (chief editor MuslimMirror.com ), Sherman Ali Ahmed, who was elected from Baghbor in Barpeta district of Lower Assam, spilled the beans about Ajmal’s leadership. He alleged that Ajmal deliberately split the Muslim votes to pave the victory of BJP candidates in the last year’s general elections.
“Ahead of 2014 general elections, I and other party members strongly suggested the party leadership especially Mr Badruddin Ajmal to put candidates only in those parliamentary constituencies where AIUDF was in winning position as we marked three constituencies that is Karimganj , Dhubri and Barpeta but he did not pay heed to our advice. I was of the opinion that AIUDF should go for polls only on those seats where it had any chance to win and rest of the seats should be left for the Congress party which was in position to check the rise of BJP. But Ajmal took this suggestion as affront and he put candidates on seven parliamentary seats of the state . It was a clear indication that he wanted to defeat Congress and split Muslim votes in fervor of BJP. I was shocked when the results were announced as my concern proved right. BJP won seven seats because of spilt in Muslim votes and the saffron party’s four seats owed to the presence of AIUDF candidates, otherwise it was confined to just three seats.”
When asked why he was suspended from the party?
Sherman Ali quipped that he was a lone voice of dissent against the party leadership which turned the party into his family fiefdom. He said Ajmal’s tactical support to BJP got through its candidate in the just concluded Rajya Sabha election in the state. He said at the behest of Ajmal three AIUDF MLAs cross-voted to help Biswajit Daimary to win the Rajya Sabha seat. Daimary belongs to Bodo Peoples Front which is headed by Hagrama Mahlary, the mastermind responsible for genocide of Muslims in BTAD.
When asked what action he would take against these MLAs, Ajmal assured that strict action would be taken against those MLAs but till date no action has been taken against them, he added.
When Muslims of Assam formed AIUDF and made Ajmal its leader and the party decided to fight elections. It was thought that Ajmal didn’t join politics for making bucks because he was a billionaire. It proved wrong as Ajmal and his party asked hefty amounts from two MLAs (one from Goalpara and another from Kamrup districts) for getting party tickets during Assam assembly polls in 2011, said Sherman Ali.
‘I have been closely watching this man and his leadership and found him a big hypocrite. Ajmal Foundation brings millions of rupees in the name of charity from Gulf countries but the money hardly utilized on the said purpose. Ajmal Foundation schools and a hospital are being run as commercial ventures; there is no mercy for poor people as they have cough up hefty fees treatment at Ajmal Hospital. It is undeniable fact that the Foundation gets donations for running all these institutions regularly from the Sheikhs of gulf. While Ajmal Foundation never declares that money being spent on welfare activities is from alms given by Arab Sheikhs, he said
He also alleged that Ajmal is not interested in solving the problem of ‘illegal migrants’ as it is a vote-catching issue for him. Successive governments had set up tribunals to determine the illegal migrants and they had ruled that there were only 5000-7000 illegal migrants in the state.
‘I tried to persuade Mr Ajmal on many occasion that the party must take the matter of ‘Illegal migrants’ to the Supreme Court but he did not pursue the matter seriously because he doesn’t want to solve this problem as it’s a political fodder for Ajmal and his party . Since it needs lakhs of rupees so I can’t do anything’ Sherman Ali said.
It should be noted that in 2005 a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India had struck down the ’ the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 and stated that it “has created the biggest hurdle and is the main impediment or barrier in the identification and deportation of illegal migrants”. In the act onus of proving illegal migrants was on the state or complainant.
In 2012, the apex court had also observed “(the conviction rate under the IMDT act) comes to less than half per cent of the cases initiated (the IMDT Act) is coming to the advantage of such illegal migrants as any proceedings initiated against them almost entirely ends in their favour, enables them to have a document having official sanctity to the effect that they are not illegal migrants.”
About his being suspended from AIUDF Sherman Ali said that first he got a notice from the party to not to speak to media as it ‘damages’ the image of the party. He explained that it was his duty to respond to the queries about the problems of his constituency. When he received second ‘show cause notice’ he answered in written and asked ‘to point out when and where’ he spoke to media about the party but he didn’t get any reply.
Basically Ajmal came into politics to save his business and he can’t go against BJP or anyone who is power at the Centre. Apart from that he receives hefty amounts through FCRA.
‘The situation of Muslims in Assam will not change unless sincere and selfless leadership develops and people like Ajmal will never let an alternate leadership to grow’ said Sherman Ali.
“Despite having second largest religious groups accounting 34 per cent of the state’s total population, Muslims are one of the worst sufferer communities of India. They are being neglected by the successive governments, harassed by the police and administrations in the name Bangladeshis and hounded by the Hindu extremists. They have been the victim of communal politics in the state. Congress exploited them by creating fear while communal forces branded them ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’ to consolidate Hindu votes”.
In this backdrop, Sherman Ali said one can easily understand the predicament of Muslims in Assam as the new assembly election is just six month away.