Illegal migrants’ issue rocks Parliament

NEW DELHI, Aug 9 – Even as the State’s freedom fighters’ bodies have sought President Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s intervention in resolving the problem of illegal Bangladeshi migrants, the issue rocked both the Houses of Parliament on Monday.

While Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MP Kumar Deepak Das raised the remarks made by Gauhati High Court last week, describing the entire deportation process as ‘farce’, BJP’s two Lok Sabha MPs, Bijoya Chakravarty and Ramen Deka called for immediate sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh border and resumption of the process of updating the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).

It was the delegation of five freedom fighters from Assam, who were invited by the President to be honoured ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, which submitted two separate memorandums high-lighting several of the State’s woes including the North Cachar Hills (Dima Hasao) district scandal.

Under the aegis of Swatantra Senani Kalyan Samiti (SSKS) and Kamrup District Freedom Fighters Association, the freedom fighters called for a halt to all election process in the State pending ‘correction of voters list. They suggested that President’s Rule should be imposed in the State and measures taken to identify and deport all illegal migrants and clean the rolls of all suspected voters, the delegation led by Jatin Goswami said.

The foreigners have stood as a great danger to the nation. States like Assam are real victims of this problem socially, economically and politically. Foreigners enrolled their names in the voters list and have become a decisive force in the elections. It has been complained that they have been used as the vote-bank of some political parties, they alleged.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed bedlam, when Kumar Deepak Das raising the issue of illegal infiltration said that it was surprising that an illegal migrant from Bangladesh filed a writ petition in the Court, leading the Gauhati High Court to express its concern.

At this MPs belonging to BJP, Shiv Sena, TDP, Siromani Akali Dal and SP came out in support and demanded a clarification from the Government.

Assam is celebrating the silver jubilee of signing of the Assam Accord but there is no sign of deportation of the illegal migrants.

In the Lok Sabha, Bijoya Chakravarty made a Zero Hour statement mentioning the encroachment of Indian Territory by Bangladesh in the eastern sector. Since it came into being Bangladesh has been encroaching upon acres of land belonging to Assam in the bordering districts of Karimganj, Silchar and Dhubri.

Moreover, what is disturbing is that it is on the porous border. In fact, in the bordering areas, a lot of smuggling has been done without any hindrance, she said

Even the Assam Revenue Minister admitted this. “That is why, I want to bring this serious matter to the attention of the House so that something is done to stop the encroachment on land by Bangladesh,” the MP said.

Joining issues, Ramen Deka through a separate Zero Hour notice said due to unabated infiltration from Bangladesh, the demographic complexion is going to change in Assam. The indigenous people of Assam are going to be reduced to minority.

The situation was so grave that the then British Superintendent of Census in 1931 wrote, “Probably, the most important event in the province during the last 25 years, an event, moreover, which seems likely to alter permanently the whole future of Assam and to destroy more surely than did the Burmese invaders of 1829, the whole structure of Assamese culture and civilisation has been the invasion of a vast horde of land hungry Bengali immigrants, mostly Muslims.”

“We can gauge the situation from the statement of the then Home Minister, who stated in this Parliament on May 6, 1997 that there were 10 million illegal migrants in India,” he said.