Assam to Approach Centre on Migrants Issue: Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said he will ask the Centre to provide legal refugee status to the people from Bangladesh who had to flee that country due to religious persecution even after the cut-off year of 1971.

"On humanitarian grounds, I will take up with the Centre the issue and include it in the election manifesto to be published by the third week of this month," Gogoi told a press conference here.

"We are not bothered about what religion they (migrants) belong, whether they are Hindus or Muslims. On humanitarian ground, those who have been forced to leave Bangladesh due to religious persecution should be granted legal refugee status," he said.

Denying that he was trying to garner the votes of the majority community by making this announcement ahead of the assembly election, the chief minister said the people who were forced to migrate to India from Bangladesh due to religious persecution will stay.

Claiming that his party will win the assembly election and form the government for the third consecutive term, Gogoi said there was "development all over the state and law and order problem has been tackled effectively."

The chief minister said this year 62 civilians were killed when compared to the last year of the opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) government 10 years ago when 212 people lost their lives to the militants.

Launching a scathing attack on AGP, Gogoi alleged that during the regime of former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta "secret killings" (of ULFA kins) had taken place.

"Now development is on all fronts and people are free to move around as the law and order situation has improved", he said.

Rejecting the charge that Congress had violated the model code of conduct by distributing bicycles and blankets among the villagers, Gogoi said this was the policy of the government.

"If the opposition feels that we have violated the model code of conduct, they are free to approach the Election Commission", he said.

Pointing out that the electoral alliance with Bodoland People's Front (BPF) will stay, Gogoi said his party will field candidates in most of the 126 constituencies pending understanding with the Bodo party in "some seats".

Replying to a query whether party tickets will be given to aspirants who have a criminal background, Gogoi said those who have chargesheets filed will not be nominated.