Assam Minister and convenor of the BJP’s North East Democratic Alliance Himanta Biswa Sarma asked people of the state to choose their enemy — “the 1-1.5 lakh people or the 55 lakh people?” While he did not elaborate on the figures, Sarma seemed to be referring to Hindu and Muslim migrants as he was replying to queries on the opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Assam. Although there are no official figures of Hindu or Muslim migrants from Bangladesh in Assam, political groups often claim that the state has about 55 lakh Bangladeshi migrants. The reference to “1-1.5 lakh” people, however, does not match any known figure. While Sarma referred to “11 districts”, the 2011 Census identified nine districts as areas with Muslim majority, up from six in 2001. Sarma said the BJP wanted to protect the Bengali-speaking Hindu migrants and wanted to keep them segregated from the Bengali-speaking Muslim migrants.
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