Constitutional safeguard was a must to protect the indigenous communities of Assam from the onslaught of Bangladeshi infiltration and his government was committed to work towards this, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Saturday.
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“Our government is committed to work for providing Constitutional safeguard to the indigenous people of Assam as provided in Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. After the roots of all problems and challenges faced by Assam today lie in the large-scale infiltration of Bangladeshis. Our government is also committed to thwart the challenges posed by the presence of these infiltrators,” Sonowal said.
Speaking at a function organised on the occasion of Shahid Diwas – the day (December 10) the first volunteer of the AASU-led movement against Bangladeshi influx had attained martyrdom in 1980 – Sonowal also said that safeguarding the interests of the indigenous communities and sons of the soil was one of his government’s top priorities.
“Protecting the indigenous people and the bhoomiputras is one of our top priorities. We have to identify those who have posed threat to the indigenous people. For that all the indigenous communities will have to work unitedly,” Sonowal said.
Sonowal’s BJP-led government on Saturday also distributed cheques worth Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of as many as 855 persons who had laid down their lives during the AASU-led movement of 1979-85 over the Bangladeshi influx issue. “We have to work hard towards making Assam free of Bangladeshi infiltrators. We cannot let the sacrifices of these 855 martyrs in vain,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the Assam Accord implementation portfolio, said the presence of large numbers of Bangladeshi infiltrators had posed threat to the political, economic, cultural and land rights of the state’s indigenous communities. “While some forces do not want the Assam Accord to be implemented, another fundamental and communal force has been posing a major threat to the Assamese identity,” he said.
Referring to the evictions carried out in Kaziranga and other places, Sarma said while the BJP-led coalition government had come to power with the promise of protecting jati-mati-bheti (identity, land and homes) of the indigenous people, it would also soon formulate a population policy for the state.
What steps, asks AASU
Meanwhile, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Saturday wanted to know what steps the BJP-led government had taken to detect and deport the Bangladeshi infiltrators on the basis of the Assam Accord.
“We appreciate the government for providing financial support to the families of the martyrs. But what about ensuring that the infiltrators are identified and deported?’” AASU general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi asked.
“The BJP has come to power with the promise of safeguarding the rights of the indigenous people. Now it has to tell the people what steps have been taken so far to provide the Constitutional safeguards as stated in the Assam Accord,” Gogoi said.