As House debates Assam riots,Shinde fails to make his mark

Sushil Kumar Shinde failed to carry the momentum to the afternoon session

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:August 9, 2012 12:52 am

While Congress president Sonia Gandhi led the treasury benches to win the first round against the Opposition,forcing senior BJP leader L K Advani to retract his controversial remark against the UPA in the Lok Sabha this morning,the newly-appointed Home Minister and Leader of the House,Sushil Kumar Shinde,failed to carry the momentum to the afternoon session as he seemed unprepared in his reply to the four-hour debate on the Opposition-sponsored adjournment motion on the “failure of the government” in curbing the recent violence in Assam.

Shinde skipped any mention of most of the issues raised by the Opposition and the allies,whether it was Advani’s demand for an official estimate of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants,or BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee,or AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s attack on the Tarun Gogoi government for “failing to protect” the life and liberty of non-Bodos.

While occasional malapropism in Shinde’s first intervention as the Home Minister — he used “terrorist” instead of “territorial” for Bodoland Territorial Administration Council (BTAC) — caused mirth in the Opposition benches,he sounded incoherent in spelling out the Centre’s strategy. “I have kept the Army on alert. If a situation arises,the government will not dare,” he said.

In the morning too,it required a nudge from Sonia for the new Leader of the House to react to Advani’s controversial remark.

Moving the adjournment motion on the government’s failure in assessing the situation arising out of illegal infiltration into Assam and in curbing the largescale ethnic violence in BTAC area,Advani had sought to know the official estimate of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. He quoted Election Commissioner H S Brahma’s article in The Indian Express on July 28 regarding the encroachment of denuded forest areas by illegal immigrants and non-indigenous communities.

“This issue is not about Hindu-Muslim or ethnic differences,but about desi and videshi. Due to this,it is my request that an updated national register of citizens be prepared from which the names of non-citizens should be deleted… Nobody should breach the non-violability of tribal belts,” said Advani.

Bodoland People’s Front MP from Kokrajhar S K Bwiswmuthiary demanded the setting up of a judicial commission headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to probe the recent violence in Assam. “It is a blatant aggression on peaceful people of Indian origin by illegal,hostile Bangladeshis,” he said.

Replying to the debate,Shinde confined himself to details of the violence. He informed the Lok Sabha that a CBI additional director will visit Guwahati tomorrow following a request from the Assam Chief Minister to investigate the violence. He said a comprehensive security plan has been chalked out to provide security to the affected population.

During the debate on the issue in the Rajya Sabha,BJP leader Balbir Punj blamed the Congress for using illegal immigrants from Bangladesh as “vote banks”. He demanded that the illegal immigrants be identified and declared “stateless”.

“They should not have any right to vote or to own property. They should not be allowed admissions in schools or colleges,” he said,demanding the completion of fencing work on the entire border between India and Bangladesh.

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MPs Kumar Deepak Das and Birendra Prasad Baishya said that the issue in Assam was not communal but that of locals versus infiltrators. “Assam is burning today. Please save Assam today to save India tomorrow. This is not a fight between Hindus and Muslims. It is a matter of indigenous population getting displaced by foreigners,” Baishya said.

“Sending the army or paramilitary forces is a temporary solution. It will not ensure permanent peace. For permanent peace,sincerity and reality is required,which is lacking in this government. Assam today has become a transit camp for terrorists,HuJI and jehadi groups based in Bangladesh,” he said.

CBI to visit Assam

With a CBI probe being recommended into Assam violence,a CBI team will soon visit the violence-hit areas. The Cbi said it is yet to receive the notification from the Centre but has already drawn up an action plan. The team will be sent to the state to gather preliminary information. After fresh incidents of violence were reported,Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recommend a CBI probe into the clashes.

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