The Assam BJP delegation after a meeting with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Wednesday. Picture by Prem Singh
Guwahati, July 3: The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has decided to launch an agitation against the alleged “double talk” of the BJP-led NDA government on matters such as visa relaxation for Bangladeshi nationals, land-swap deal and construction of big dams.
The students’ union will stage a satyagraha in all the district headquarters of the state on July 7 to put pressure on the Narendra Modi government to immediately clarify its stand on the issues.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya told reporters here today, “In the last Lok Sabha polls, AASU along with the people of Assam had wanted a political change in Delhi as the Congress-led UPA government had failed to solve the state’s problems like influx, land-swap deal and construction of big dams like the lower Subansiri hydel power project. The BJP came to power in Delhi in May by promising change but the NDA government’s latest activities has created doubts about whether it is actually interested in solving the problems of the state.”
He said when illegal migration from Bangladesh is posing a grave threat to the very identity of the indigenous people of Assam, how can the BJP-led government at the Centre think about visa relaxation for certain category of citizens of the neighbouring country.
The proposal for “visa-free entry” for Bangladesh nationals under the age of 18 and over 65 years had come up during an inter-ministerial meeting convened by the ministry of external affairs and chaired by the foreign secretary in New Delhi on June 11. The Assam government had received a formal communiquť about the meeting on June 13.
“The proposed visa relaxation will convert Assam into a refuge for Bangladeshis. We cannot accept such proposal under any circumstance,” Bhattacharjya said.
Criticising the NDA government’s reported softening of stand on the land-swap deal, Bhattacharjya said the BJP had promised to oppose the agreement signed by the erstwhile UPA government with Bangladesh authorities to hand over some portion of Assam’s lands to the neighbouring country. “The people are now confused about the BJP maintaining its old stand after coming to power,” he added.
The AASU expressed concern over media reports that the Centre had asked the Arunachal Pradesh government to go ahead with all its big dam projects, including the lower Subansiri hydel power project.
“Execution of big dam projects will result in massive natural disasters in Assam. The Centre must give a deep thought to experts’ opinions on the adverse impact of construction of big dams on Assam. We will intensify our agitation if the Centre backs the big dam lobby,” AASU general secretary Tapan Kumar Gogoi said.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) has also termed the Centre’s reported move of restarting construction of big dams in the region a “conspiracy”. “We will give the BJP a fitting reply. We have vowed not to allow any big dam and will never let it happen,” KMSS president Akhil Gogoi said. The group will hold its steering committee meeting on the matter.
Exhorting the BJP to keep its promises, Bhattacharjya said an AASU delegation would leave for Delhi soon after the budget session of Parliament. It would try to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers to solve the state’s problems.