Talks with Bangla to stem influx

Guwahati, Dec. 13: The Centre will hold parleys with Bangladesh for formulating a policy for easy deportation of Bangladeshi infiltrators.

Assam Accord implementation minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the Assembly today that the Centre would take up the issue of laying down a policy for deportation of illegal migrants with the Bangladesh government. The absence of any such policy has been a hurdle in deportation of Bangladeshi nationals who have illegally entered the country, he added.

Sarma said the Union home ministry has sent a proforma to the state government, which will have to be returned after filling up details, such as the original addresses, of the people who have been declared illegal migrants from Bangladesh by the courts. The Centre will furnish the proforma to the Bangladesh government for sending the illegal migrants back to their native country.

The minister said in the absence of an extradition treaty with Bangladesh, currently the illegal migrants were simply pushed back to Bangladesh by the Indian authorities. "In such a scenario, these infiltrators become stateless people as Bangladesh refuses to accept them."

Sarma made the statement in response to AGP legislator Keshab Mahanta raising the issue of a 12-member team of visiting Bangladesh MPs recently, claiming here that the Indian government had not taken up the issue of infiltration from Bangladesh with their government.

He said it is an established fact that there are Bangladeshi infiltrators in Assam and we need not bother about what the Bangladeshi MPs say. Around 22,000 persons have been declared illegal migrants, of whom 1,400 have been pushed back so far, he added.

On the claims made by individuals and organisations that there are lakhs of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Assam, Sarma said such claims are meaningless since these are not backed by logic and statistics. Claiming that the problem of illegal migrants has been blown out of proportion, he said nobody should make emotional statements on this issue.

In Delhi, BPF MP from Kokrajhar Sansuma Kunggur Bwiswmuthiary told the Lok Sabha today that unchecked influx into tribal belts and blocks and other tribal-dominated areas within BTAD and in other parts of North Brahmaputra valley had drastically changed the demographic, socio-economic and political features of the region, threatening its identity, survival and existence to a great extent.

He also urged the Centre to take appropriate steps to expedite the process of the creation of a separate state of "Bodoland".

He alleged that successive state governments over the past five decades had failed to protect the lands and overall rights of the indigenous people.

"Against this backdrop, the indigenous Bodos and other local people living in the entire northern bank of the Brahmaputra have been left with no option other than demand the creation of long-awaited separate state of Bodoland," he said, adding that the tribal people of the northeastern region who have got their own states have been able to develop themselves.

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