He said that millions of ‘illegal infiltrators’ have entered the country like ‘termites’ and should be ‘uprooted’
The president of India’s ruling party, Amit Shah, has called Bangladeshi migrants “termites”, evoking sharp responses from Dhaka and leading rights groups.
In multiple remarks over the last three days, Shah said that millions of "illegal infiltrators" have entered the country like "termites" and should be "uprooted", reports Al Jazeera.
Local media in India reported Shah as saying this at a public meeting in New Delhi—that millions of “infiltrators” were eating away at the country, and then he asked why they should not be uprooted.
He made similar remarks at an election rally in Rajasthan on Friday.
He said the BJP would deport "every single illegal immigrant" if it wins re-election early next year—a promise the party also made before the 2014 polls.
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The BJP president’s remarks, termed “unwanted” by Bangladesh, were also deemedunimportant as Shah is not a government official, Bangladesh’s Minister of Information Hasanul Haq told The Hindu.
In a post on Twitter on Monday, human rights group Amnesty India said it was "horrified" by Shah's remarks and urged him not to "dehumanize" people.
For the past few months, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a register of Indian citizens residing in the northeastern state of Assam, has remained a contentious issue because it declared four million of the state's residents as foreigners.
Andrew Stroehlein, European media director at the US-based Human Rights Watch, said Shah's statement was "disturbing" and evoked a "path to genocide".
While the issue of undocumented Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam has remained on the boil since 2014, a controversial NRC draft, released earlier this year, turned it into one of the many polarizing topics of Indian politics.
Incidentally, Shah's remarks also came in advance of a two-month process, that starts on Tuesday, allowing people left out in the draft NRC to file their claims and objections before a definitive list is released in December.