GUWAHATI: India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had asked state’s first Chief Minister Gopinath Bordoloi to accommodate Muslim refugees from East Pakistan if he wants financial support from the Centre, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said here on Sunday.

“Bordoloi had sought financial support from Nehru to overcome the financial crisis of the state after independence. In turn, Nehru had asked him to accommodate Muslim refugees from East Pakistan. But Bordoloi had resisted it and said that the state had more than 1 lakh people for giving land allotment. He also argued that the state has no land except from reserve forest and grazing land,” Sarma said addressing a function to present prestigious Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Award for National Integration and Contribution for the year 2021 at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati.

“Not only this, Bordoloi had also foiled the attempt of then Assam’s premier Syed Muhammad Saadulla’s “grow more Muslim’ plan in 1944,” Sarma said.

“Syed Muhammad Saadulla was the premier of Assam from 1942 to 1945. During this period he abolished the “line system” of old land policy and planned for handing over grazing land to immigrant Muslims from East Pakistn under his Grow More Muslim policy,” he said

However in 1944, Bordoloi opposed the decision and staged a democratic protest in the assembly, forcing the government to hold a joint meeting with the Congress and formation of all party cabinet in the provincial government, he added.

Sarma said that he a visionary leader who laid the foundation of modern Assam. 

Sarma said that Bordoloi always stood for the interest of the people of the state and his stellar role, uncompromising attitude and commitment towards the state ensured that Assam remains an integral part of India.

Underlining Bordoloi’s role in India’s freedom movement and as Prime Minister of the provincial government of Assam, Sarma said that Lokapriya led the state during the most difficult times with immense fortitude and farsightedness. 

Sarma said that Bordoloi, with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, vehemently opposed the proposal of the Cabinet Mission to put Assam in Group C along with then East Pakistan and it was because of his leadership that Assam remained a part of India. Lokapriya never compromised with the interest of Assam and played a stellar role in foiling the evil designs of Sadullah government, Sarma said.

The Chief Minister further said that in the history of Assam, Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi would always be remembered for his stand against “Grow More Food” policy of Sadullah government, contribution towards inclusion of VI schedule in the constitution, creation of belt and blocks and stand against the grouping system of the Cabinet Mission.

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