New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) The BJP and some other opposition parties Wednesday demanded immediate steps to complete fencing on India’s border with Bangladesh to check infiltration.
Taking part in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the ethnic violence in Assam, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Balbir Punj said that about 50 km of the Indian border with Bangladesh had been “deliberately kept unfenced”.
Punj said that illegal migration into Assam over the years had created a sense of insecurity among Assamese people.
He said the Assam Accord of 1985 had entailed identification of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, creation of a national citizen register and fencing of the border. He accused the Congress of not taking enough steps to implement these.
Punj said demographic changes had taken place in several districts of Assam due to infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims, who were now registering a much faster growth than Hindus in the state.
He sought immediate steps to complete border fencing with Bangladesh and said that illegal immigrants should be declared “stateless people” and barred from voting and owning property.
Congress member Bhubaneswar Kalita said the house should give a message to “unite” the people of state. He accused the BJP of trying to divert the issue. “You want to give colour to (it).”
The MP said the Congress cannot be faulted for lapses in implementing the Assam Accord and wanted to know how many were identified as foreigners during the Assam Gana Parshad (AGP) rule.
Another Congress MP, K. Rehman Khan said innocent Muslims in the state should not be troubled in the name of infiltratration.
“Who is playing vote bank politics, people understand,” Rehman Khan said.
He said the need was for quick relief and rehabilitation and providing security to the riot-affected people.
Jharna Das Baidya of the CPI-M asked the Assam government to take concrete steps to address pending problems.
Janata Dal(United) (JD-U) leader Shivanand Tiwari said infiltration was taking place in the state. “Fencing is a must,” he said.
Asom Gana Parishad’s Birendra Prasad Baishya said Assam was “burning” and there was a need to “save” the state.
Referring to the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, he said Assam had a different law from other parts of the country to identify foreigners. “The main problem is the Bangladesh border (is) open.”
He said his party was not against Muslims but “against illegal migrants”.
Biswajit Daimary of Bodoland People’s Front said that priority should be given to complete fencing along the Bangladesh border.
Shiv Sena members said their party was the first to raise the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh.
Ethnic violence in Assam last month left 73 people dead and displaced tens of thousands.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is expected to reply to the debate Thursday.