Two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on his Bangladesh tour, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and two other groups have asked him to take up the issue of signing a repatriation treaty with that country so that it could take back thousands of its citizens who had infiltrated to Assam.
“Deportation of several thousand persons declared by tribunals and courts as Bangladeshis who had illegally entered Assam and India have been staying on because Bangladesh has refused to take them back on one plea or the other. Once the government of India signs a repatriation treaty with Bangladesh, sending them back will become possible,” a memorandum sent by the AASU to Prime Minister Modi said.
The student body wondered why successive governments at the Centre and top functionaries including the prime minister had not taken up the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration with Dhaka. “The Supreme Court, too, had directed the government of India to take up the issue with Bangladesh. But the people of Assam are not aware of whether the issue was ever taken up,” the AASU memorandum said.
The AASU also complained that in the past all Indian dignitaries visiting Bangladesh had played safe to take up the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration. “The Supreme Court had only recently directed the government to take up the issue of repatration of the post-1971 foreigners (Bangladeshi nationals) with the Bangladesh government,” the AASU memorandum said.
Meanwhile, the Asom Jatiya Gana Sangram Parishad (AJGSP), a newly-formed organization said since deportation of Bangladeshi infiltrators from India involved two sovereign nations, it had to be dealt on the basis of International laws. “A repatriation treaty is the only solution to send back several thousand persons already confirmed and proved as Bangladeshi infiltrators by the Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam,” Aroop Jyoti Kalita, chief convenor of AJGSP said on Thursday.
“The ensuing Bangladesh visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the right opportunity for the government of India to sign a repatriation treaty with that country. Only this will bring a permanent solution to the Bangladeshi influx problem,” Kalita said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun ,too, has requested Prime Minister Modi to raise before his Bangladeshi counterpart the issue of cross-border infiltration as well as that relating to deporting illegal migrants from Bangladesh detected in Assam by the Foreigners’ Tribunals.
The Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam have since 1985 declared over 38,000 persons as foreigners who had illegally entered the state from Bangladesh. Most of these persons however have gone missing soon after they were declared as foreigners. The Assam Police have, in the past few weeks, issued notice through newspaper advertisements giving details of such persons who have been absconding after they were declared foreigners.