New Delhi, Sept. 1: The Lok Sabha MP from Kokrajhar today alleged that the situation arising out of the Assam violence could have been nipped in the bud had Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC president Sonia Gandhi met the leaders from the region when the crisis began.
Bodoland Peoples Front MP S.K Bwiswmuthiary said his repeated attempts to meet the senior leaders had failed as he was not granted an audience. “On July 23, we tried to talk to the Prime Minister, to Sonia Gandhi and others but we could only talk to a joint secretary. V. George, secretary to Mrs Gandhi, asked me send an email,” he told a meeting of indigenous Northeast groups here during the release of a booklet “Illegal migration in Assam and Northeast — essential facts”.
Neither a visit to Kokrajhar by the Prime Minister nor a Rs 300-crore financial package announced by him for the riot-affected areas could control the situation later. Subsequently, Sonia visited relief camps in Kokrajhar and Dhubri but was unable to send a strong message to the Assam government. It was only after an exodus of thousands to the Northeast from workplaces in Bangalore and Hyderabad that the government and Parliament woke up to the crisis.
Dismissing the Centre’s claim that rumours led to the exodus, Bwiswmuthiary cited incidents of youths from the Northeast being beaten up while returning from Kerala.
It is this apparent inaccessibility by individual leaders from the Northeast to top politicians in Delhi that a generalised opinion is repeated time and again. “A log of wood can get boiled in a pressure cooker but not the heart of Delhi,” said the MP, exhorting students and community leaders to unite.
Several Delhi-based student leaders from the Dimasa Students Union, Tripura Students Forum, Karbi Students Union, All Bodo Students Union, Nepali Sanskrit Parishad and Delhi Achik Youth Association spoke at the booklet release.
Upamanyu Hazarika of the North East Sanstha said it was sad that the government was able to deport just 1,481 illegal migrants between 1971 and 2000. Demanding implementation of all clauses of the Assam Accord, he said the Centre should wake up to the fact that more and more districts were turning into migrant-majority areas.
The booklet lists census findings that point to decadal growth in the alleged migrant-majority districts. Dhubri has seen a 24.4 per cent decadal growth in population between 2001 and 2011 while Goalpara has witnessed a 22.74 per cent growth. The booklet pits this above 20 per cent decadal growth rate of districts bordering Bangladesh — Karimganj, Cachar and Hailakandi — against the national average of 17.64 per cent and Assam average of 16.9 per cent.