Assam students’ union plans fresh anti-Bangladeshi stir

July 10th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, July 10 (IANS) The All Assam Students Union (AASU) has decided to resume its agitation against illegal migrants from Bangladesh more than two decades after it signed a deal with the central government to end a six-year-long uprising to oust the illegal aliens from the northeastern Indian state. The Congress-led state and central government have failed miserably to implement the spirit of the 1985 Assam Accord that provided for detection and expulsion of illegal Bangladeshi migrants from Assam, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya told IANS Thursday.

The AASU, which led the anti-foreigner (read anti-Bangladeshi) stir between 1979 and 1985, will resume its movement with meetings of its organisation in the districts across Assam to be held between July 12 and 25. It will sensitize the student volunteers of the threat posed to the Assamese society and culture by the continued influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

“Our organisational meetings will be followed by public rallies in the districts from July 25, starting with a meeting in the eastern Sivasagar district. We need to give a picture of the threat to the people,” Bhattacharya said.

The Assam Accord signed between the AASU and the central government in August 1985 fixed March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date for detection and expulsion of illegal migrants from Assam. But only an estimated 2,000 people are supposed to have been expelled since then, a fact resented by it.

The immigration law in force in Assam, the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 was perceived as the stumbling block in detecting and expelling the illegal aliens. That was because in the IMDT Act, the onus of proof of citizenship of an individual rests on the authorities and not the accused.

Three years ago, however, there was euphoria in Assam after the Supreme Court repealed the act, making the provisions of the Foreigners Act applicable in Assam, as elsewhere in the country, to deal with foreign nationals. The Foreigners Act requires an accused to prove his or her citizenship.

The Congress as well as the other political parties in Assam have failed to realize the message given out by the Supreme Court when it repealed the act. The verdict meant that the IMDT Act had loopholes that helped illegal migrants to stay on in India without much of a problem of deportation, Bhattacharya said.

The politics of citizenship is expected to take centre-stage yet again ahead of the Lok Sabha polls with the AASU set to launch a fresh stir on the issue of illegal migration.

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