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Ulfa joins anti-migrant drive

- Pro-talks group threatens to take up arms for cause, ‘bans’ Ajmal from Tinsukia

Jorhat, Sept. 2: The pro-talks group of Ulfa today joined the campaign against illegal migrants in Assam and threatened to take up arms again for the cause.

It also warned AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal to keep away from igniting communal tension in the state and “banned” him and All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) members from entering Tinsukia district till they desisted from igniting communal feelings and violence in the state.

The pub-mandal unit of the pro-talks group led by Prabal Neog, Jiten Dutta and Antu Chowdang organised a public meeting at the district library auditorium in Tinsukia today, where they announced that they had joined hands with other organisations in the state to campaign against foreigners from today.

Senior citizens, members of the business community, educationists and representatives of various organisations, including Tai Ahom Students’ Union, Brihattor Asomia Yuva Mancha, Muslim Yuva Parishad, Bengali Chattra Parishad, Marwari Yuva Manch, Tinsukia District Chambers of Commerce, among others, attended the meeting, where it was also decided to submit a memorandum to Tinsukia deputy commissioner S.S. Meenakshi Sunduram, requesting the district authority to keep a close watch to ensure that no illegal migrant could enter the district.

The xatradhikar of Dinjoy Xatra in Tinsukia, Jugadananda Goswami, also attended.

A 25-member committee, comprising senior citizens and members of various organisations who took part in the meeting today, was also formed to decide the future course of action.

“We have information that hundreds of illegal migrants have fled to other parts of Assam after the BTAD violence. As such, we have appealed to the district administration not to allow these migrants to enter Tinsukia district,” Jiten Dutta, a leader of the group, said.

The group also called upon the business community, especially contractors and owners of brick kilns, not to engage suspected Bangladeshis in any activities. “A large number of illegal migrants work in brick kilns and is engaged by building contractors. We appeal to them not to engage these foreigners in the future. Not engaging them in any activity would make our job easier to keep them away,” Dutta said.

Prabal Neog, another leader of the group, said they had taken up and then laid down arms for the state. “We will take up the gun again, if required, for Assam,” he said.

Dutta said the anti-talks faction led by Paresh Barua had been maintaining silence on the illegal migrants issue because it was a puppet in the hands of foreign forces. “Paresh Barua is working under the instructions of the ISI, which is desperate to destabilise Assam. As such, he is totally silent on the recent BTAD flare-up.”

The pro-talks group, comprising A and C company of the lethal 28 battalion of Ulfa, declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2008 and come overground. Its cadres are currently staying in designated camps set up mostly in Tinsukia district.

Ulfa leaders holding talks with the Centre have already identified illegal migration from across the border with Bangladesh as a key issue and want the government to take necessary steps to check the inflow.

The state has once again been caught up in an anti-foreigners mood reminiscent of the eighties, in the wake of the riots in BTAD and elsewhere for over more than a month, with the conflict being described as one between Bodos and illegal migrants.

The Bodoland Territorial Council has made it clear that it will not accept back those people who left BTAD until they produced land documents to prove their citizenship.

Like in today’s meeting, Ajmal has been under fire ever since the riots began and has also been accused of giving the disturbances a communal colour.

The AIUDF has, however, denied that its leader had played any such role in fanning communal tension during or after the riots.