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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

Row over Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s 1.25 crore infiltrators claim 

Interacting with mediapersons in Jharkhand, Sarma, who has been heading the state since May 10, 2021, said Jharkhand should learn from the mistakes of Assam and Bengal vis-a-vis infiltration

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 17.05.24, 05:57 AM
Himanta Biswa Sarma

Himanta Biswa Sarma File image

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s assertion in Jharkhand on Wednesday that 1.25 crore Bangladeshis have infiltrated into Assam in the past 40 years has seen questions being raised back home about what his government was doing to check the trend.

Interacting with mediapersons in Jharkhand, Sarma, who has been heading the state since May 10, 2021, said Jharkhand should learn from the mistakes of Assam and Bengal vis-a-vis infiltration.

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“The volume of infiltrators from Bangladesh in Assam will be about 1.25 crore.... It started during the Congress rule. It is my misfortune I am not being able to stop it. Jharkhand should not reach this stage (where it can’t tackle the issue),” said Sarma, who is being used as the star campaigner by his party (BJP) after the three-phase polls ended in Assam on May 7.

“Assamese people are losing their identity. This (influx) is a cancer which will gobble you up. Break the leg of an infiltrator as per the law whenever you see one.... This is not a political issue. This is about Jharkhand’s future,” he said.

Though Sarma painted a grim and scary picture of the state’s influx situation in Jharkhand, he did not flag the issues he flagged during campaigning in Assam.

Influx is a sensitive issue in Assam which had seen the six-year-long anti-foreigner movement culminating with the 1985 Assam Accord with provisions for detection, detention and deportation of foreigners illegally staying in the state. Sarma’s assertions have evoked a sharp reaction back home. Hitesh Dev Sarma, former NRC coordinator, told The Telegraph the chief minister has “admitted” to the presence of 1.25 crore Bangladeshis in Assam.

“Only 19 lakhs were excluded in the NRC published in 2019. This means more than a crore succeeded in entering NRC. Then why he (CM) is not submitting an affidavit before the Supreme Court seeking re-verification of the NRC? Five years have lapsed since the supplementary list of NRC was published,” Sarma said.

Sarma had moved the apex court seeking total reverification of inclusions in the NRC, a court-monitored exercise to update the 1951 register of Indian citizens in Assam.

Assam PCC chief Bhupen Kumar Borah asked Sarma what he was doing about the influx issue if he was “so confident” about the influx data. “You were a part of the 15-year Congress government, and now the 8-year BJP government. Instead of dishing out questionable numbers, what unquestionable action have you taken?”

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