In this interview to a foreign broadcaster in 1971, then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, said the influx of East Pakistanis into this country was 'unsustainable' and that they must be sent back home; it exposes the duplicity of her party, the Congress, that is opposing the National Register of Citizens which seeks to do what their supreme leader of the 1970s had wanted to do (although the words were not followed by any action of that government even after the liberation of East Pakistan-turned-Bangladesh)
In an interview to the BBC in 1971, months before the 1971 war with Pakistan, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said that India could not take in the millions of refugees from what was then East Pakistan. Bengalis -- mostly Muslims but also a residual population of Hindus that had stayed back in the newly formed Islamic country in 1947 -- were fleeing persecution and oppression by the Urdu-speaking central government of Pakistan, seeking shelter in India.
"I am absolutely determined that the refugees of all religions must go back," the then Prime Minister said in the course of the interview.
Apparently, BBC recognised the crisis India faced. The interviewer asked, "The refugees are still coming over. You have this enormous problem in India. How much longer can you sustain this?" Indira Gandhi said, "Well, we can't sustain it now any longer."
"It's now for some months that it really has been something that, you know, (the) water going higher and higher," the then Prime Minister gestured before the BBC interviewer.
On the question as to what she could do about it, Indira Gandhi replied, "Something will have to be done. I am absolutely determined that the refugees of all religions must go back," adding, "We are not going to absorb them in our population."
However, on this 30 July, Indira's grandson and current Congress president Rahul Gandhi wrote on Facebook, "There are reports pouring in from all corners of Assam of Indian citizens finding their names missing in the draft NRC, creating massive insecurity in the state... I appeal to all members of the Congress party to help maintain peace and help all those against whom an injustice has been done in the draft NRC..."
Read Exclusive COVID-19 Coronavirus News updates, at MyNation.
Last Updated Aug 1, 2018, 10:29 PM IST