Guwahati, May 14: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today hit back at BJP president Nitin Gadkari for saying that India had a moral responsibility to accept all Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh. He said the BJP had raked up the issue keeping in mind the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Gogoi told reporters here that the BJP raised its pitch on issues concerning Hindus whenever parliamentary and Assembly polls were around the corner but became oblivious once the polls were over.
Gadkari had yesterday said the BJP would move the National Human Rights Commission to seek the rights of Hindus who had taken refuge in India after being driven out of their homes in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan on grounds of religious discrimination. He said India had a moral responsibility to accept these Hindus. He said Avinash Rai Khanna, in-charge of the party’s human rights cell, would visit Assam soon to hold consultations before preparing a petition which would be submitted to the rights commission.
He accused the Congress of doing injustice to Hindus from erstwhile East Pakistan because of vote-bank politics.
Gogoi said he had officially raised with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the issue of granting refugee status to Hindus and Muslims in the state who had fled their countries because of persecution.
“Since I have raised the issue with the Centre for the first time, there will be more discussions on the topic. The people who faced persecution in erstwhile East Pakistan or Bangladesh should be given humanitarian treatment and refugee status,” he added.
In the last Assembly elections in 2011, Gogoi had raised the issue of refugee status for Hindu Bengalis who had fled Bangladesh. Political observers said Gogoi’s assurances had not only helped the Congress garner Hindu votes but also blunted the BJP’s tool for consolidating Hindu votes.
Gogoi said the BJP’s stand on illegal migration from Bangladesh was self-contradictory as former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee favoured giving work permits to Bangladeshi citizens. “I oppose giving such permits since it has the inherent danger of encouraging more migration from Bangladesh,” he added.