“Delhi ke andar awaidh ghuspaithiye hain... in ghuspaithiyon ko nikaalna chahiye ya nahin nikaalna chahiye? Desh mein karodon ki sankhya mein ghuspaithiye ghuse hue hain. Deemak ki tarah chaat gaye hain desh ke bhavishya ko.”
In a now infamous remark, BJP president AMIT SHAH, speaking at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, compared the “crores” of illegal immigrants he claims have entered India, to termites eating the country from within. While not responding formally, Bangladeshi government officials have told reporters that Shah’s rhetorical exuberance was “inappropriate”. Of course, the imagery Shah conjures has a long history, much of it—at the risk of provoking the BJP’s hyperventilating hordes on social media— Nazi and fascist. Surely, it doesn’t need saying that it is never a good idea to compare human beings to insects and parasites. The National Register of Citizens appears in practice already to be little more than an exercise in xenophobic catharsis. What, beyond the fantasy of deportation, will be done with the millions made stateless? Presumably extermination, unlike with termites, is not an option.