| BJP leader L.K. Advani addresses a press conference in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, July 31: BJP leader L.K. Advani today blamed the “Congress-sponsored” illegal influx from Bangladesh for the violence in Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD).
“The Congress collusion in massive infiltration from Bangladesh is the root cause of the recurring clashes in Assam,” Advani told reporters here today, after visiting the violence-hit areas yesterday.
He urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC president Sonia Gandhi and chief minister Tarun Gogoi, “to do some honest introspection on where the real guilt lies”.
“Isn’t the Congress government guilty because of its criminal delay in responding to the situation, when there were clear indications of imminent conflict?” Advani asked.
“Secondly, both the UPA government at the Centre and the Congress government in Assam are also guilty because of their persistent, conscious and deliberate inaction to solve the root cause of the conflict, the illegal immigration from Bangladesh,” the BJP leader said.
The clashes between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers that broke out on July 19 have claimed 57 lives and left lakhs of people homeless.
Advani also offered a four-point solution to the problem and appealed to all parties to evolve a national consensus on the solution proposed by him.
According to the veteran leader, the problem should be treated as an Indian versus foreigner issue and not as a Hindu versus Muslim issue. The updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) should delete the names of non-citizens from the voters’ list, and non-violability of tribal belts and blocks in Bodo areas and save Assam to protect the unity and integrity in the Northeast.
Echoing the Prime Minister, Advani also described the riots as a blot on the face of the country and said the Congress deserves to be punished for its collusion in the influx of illegal immigrants.
He said the illegal migration had increased the three problems of land, ethnicity and the change in the state’s population profile or demography.
“The native residents are feeling they are being squeezed out and disempowered by the immigrant population,” Advani said.
“We believe that a distinction must be made between native Muslims in Assam and foreigners who have infiltrated here and other parts of India,” he said.
“The time has come to find a durable and effective solution to the problem the state is facing time and again, often in its violent manifestations,” Advani added.
The Ex-BLT Welfare Society today blamed the United Muslim National Army (UMNA), a fledgling militant outfit, for the riots in lower Assam.
The outfit is demanding a separate “Muslim land”, comprising 13 districts of Assam including the four districts of BTAD.
The society’s chairman Janomohan Muchahary alleged that the outfit’s chairman Ramjan Islam was none other than suspended police constable Mohibur Islam alias Ratul. “Islam was suspended for his involvement in various antisocial activities, including circulating provocative MMSs,” he said.
He also alleged that Islam was shot at because of business conflict among partners.
Islam was one of the two persons shot at by unidentified persons on July 19 at Magurmari in Kokrajhar, Muchahary said. The incident was one of triggers for the clash. “After the incident, about 25 motorcycle-borne suspected UMNA activists vandalised the house of a Bodo family in Bhatipara,” he added.
Next day, four Bodo youths, including an ex-BLT, were killed at Joypur Namapara by suspected UMNA activists, Muchahary said.
He urged the administration to control the All BTAD Minority Student Union and the All Assam Minorities Students’ Union, saying the two have been creating trouble in the area and it was imperative to control them for a peaceful atmosphere.
The society urged the government to investigate pro-talks Ulfa leader Mrinal Hazarika’s statement that a boat carrying a consignment of arms had crossed the Brahmaputra from Bangladesh and two more were on their way. It also demanded rehabilitation of people on the basis of land pattas and 1971 voter list as well as implementation of the National Register of Citizens.