Centre did not ask Rajasthan to keep Bangladeshis in camps: Patil

May 19th, 2008 - 10:49 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) A day after Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said the union government had told her to round up illegal Bangladeshi migrants and put them in Guantanamo Bay-like camps, the union home minister denied it categorically. “The Rajasthan chief minister is giving statements that the union government told her to round up Bangladeshis and put them in transit camps. She is saying this perhaps because she is shaken by the blasts. Her statements are not true,” union home minister Shivraj Patil told a news channel Monday evening.

“She said no meeting of chief ministers was called to discuss the issue of terrorism. But five-six meetings have been called. She said Bangladeshis will be thrown out (from Rajasthan) but this is not a monarchy. By saying such things she has exposed her weakness,” Patil said.

Earlier, Raje had said in an interview Sunday that she had taken up the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants with the union government “many, many times since June 2007″.

“They wrote to us saying round them (Bangladeshis) up and put them up in transit camps and feed them,” she said.

Raje is from the Scindia royal family and Patil was referring to her background when he mentioned India not being a monarchy.

Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur was rocked by serial bomb blasts May 13 in which more than 60 people lost their lives. Raje had said Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) was involved in the blasts and illegal migrants from the neighbouring country could be responsible.

The Rajasthan government had said that a law — on the lines of the now repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA)– passed by its assembly to combat terror did not secure approval of the union government.

Rajasthan has an estimated 10,000 bangladeshis in Jaipur and around 20,000 in the state, according to Raje.

The issue of Bangladeshi immigrants is likely to remain in currency in the state which elects a new assembly later this year. It may also figure in the Lok Sabha elections slated for May 2009, according to sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — to which Raje belongs.

The BJP has blamed the union government of being soft on terror to appease the minority vote-bank. It had questioned the “bonafides” of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday when the latter said there was need for a federal agency to combat growing terrorism in the country.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |