Perfume baron and chief of All India United Democratic Party, Badruddin Ajmal resents being perceived as pro-Muslims or pro-Bangladeshi. He had formed the party after the Supreme Court scrapped an allegedly pro-migrants act in July 2005. He wants the Bangladeshi issue to end so that Muslims do not have to carry the stigma on their foreheads.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: What is your stand on the Bangladeshi issue?
Ajmal: This issue has been carrying on for too long despite the Assam Accord (1985) that clearly says illegal migrants who came to India after March 24, 1971 will have to go. What’s stopping the government from sealing the border with Bangladesh and taking action against the post-1971 migrants?
Q: Are Muslims in Assam victimised because of this issue?
Ajmal: Muslims are viewed with suspicion because of their appearance. If Bangladeshis are staying on illegally, take drastic action. Shoot them if you have to, but stop harassing genuine Indian citizens.
Q: But you are accused of batting for Bangladeshi migrants.
Ajmal: This is a baseless accusation from the BJP and AGP (Asom Gana Parishad). The question of protecting illegal migrants does not arise at all.
Q: Is yours a pro-Muslim party?
Ajmal: Why then do we have non-Muslim MLAs? The profiles of our candidates underline our secular outlook and we believe in taking everyone along.
Q: Will AIUDF play a role in government formation this time?
Ajmal: This will be a hung assembly with Congress and BJP-AGP-BPF getting 40-45 seats each. In such a scenario, government formation will not be possible without AIUDF.
Q: Did you have a secret poll deal with any major party?
Ajmal: In Islam, we do not believe in secret marriages. Likewise, we have no hidden poll deal with either the Congress or the BJP and its allies. EOM