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Anti-Bangladeshi stir continues in Assam

Publication Date : 02-11-2012


Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi may believe that the "foreigner" (read: Bangladeshi) issue is not the state's primary problem, but civil society groups think differently. 

From students’ organisations to farmers’ groups, everybody in the northeastern Indian state Assam insists that illegal migration from Bangladesh will continue to be a major concern for the Assamese for decades. 

The state government in Dispur may be making contradictory statements about the presence of illegal Bangladeshis in Assam, but the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) has never tired of arguing for strict action against those migrants. The influential students' body masterminded the historic Assam movement (1979 to 1985), and many of its leaders emerged as politicians in power. Unfortunately, they too did little to resolve the issue.

The recent mass rally by the AASU against illegal Bangladeshis in Jorhat witnessed the participation of local people of all ages, castes and creeds. The October 31 rally, which was supported by more than 25  indigenous students’ organisations from eastern Assam, demanded immediate "identification and deportation of the illegal migrants" residing in Assam. 

The student leaders insisted on full implementation of the Assam Accord, which was signed by AASU leaders in 1984 with the Union government in the presence of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. They also want the National Register of Citizens upgraded before the next general election and all international borders sealed to keep out new migrants. 

Meanwhile, the powerful Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity appealed to all Assam-based political parties, student bodies and other organisations to find a scientific way to deal with the Bangladeshi influx. 

Addressing the media yesterday, its leader Akhil Gogoi argued that the people of Assam must learn lessons from the mistakes made in the time of the Assam agitation.

The young activist, however, termed the opposing tendency of Left parties to the anti-foreigners movement led by the AASU a "historic blunder". He expects the new movement against the influx to have a nationalistic and secular character.


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