BJP chief slammed for calling Bangladeshi migrants ‘termites

BJP chief slammed for calling Bangladeshi migrants ‘termites

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The president of India’s ruling party has called Bangladeshi migrants “termites”, evoking sharp responses from Dhaka as well as leading rights groups.
In remarks he has repeated at least twice in the last three days, Amit Shah, president of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said millions of “illegal infiltrators” have entered the country like “termites” and should be “uprooted”.
“Should they be thrown out or not? Millions of infiltrators have entered our country and are eating the country like termites. Should we not uproot them?” local media reported Shah as saying at a public meeting in capital New Delhi.
Shah made similar remarks on Friday at an election rally in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.
He said the BJP would deport “every single illegal immigrant” if it wins re-election early next year – a promise the party also made ahead of the 2014 polls.
Shah’s comments, meanwhile, were termed “unwanted” by Bangladesh, which responded by saying since he was not a government official, the remarks do not matter.
“Amit Shah has made an unwanted remark by describing Bangladeshis as termites. We, in Dhaka, do not give any importance to his statement as it does not carry the gravity of an official statement of India,” Bangladesh’s Minister of Information Hasanul Haq Inu told Indian newspaper 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 “dehumanise” people.
“Even before the NRC [National Register of Citizens] process is over, it is horrific to hear Amit Shah dubbing Bangladeshi migrants as ‘termites’. Dear Mr Shah, please STOP dehumanising people, irrespective of them being in the NRC list or not,” Amnesty India tweeted.
For the past few months, the NRC, a register of Indian citizens residing in the northeastern state of Assam, has remained a contentious issue for declaring 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 reminded of a “path to genocide”.
“The president of India’s ruling party crosses a disturbing and well-known line. The path to genocide and other mass atrocity crimes is always first paved by powerful politicians using dehumanising language of “termites”, “cockroaches” or “vermin”,” Stroehlein said on Twitter.

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