Will government implement Assam Accord, asks BJP
In a bid to embarrass Congress, BJP today sought to know if the party and its President Sonia Gandhi concurred with the Assam Accord signed by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and demanded the agreement be implemented to solve the crisis in the state.
"Mrs Sonia Gandhi, please tell the country clearly whether you accept Rajiv Gandhi's Assam Accord of 1985...
Please explain where you stand on the issue. BJP wants that the Accord be implemented. Will you tell your government to implement it?" Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
The 1985 Accord signed between Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, chief minister of Assam at that time, states that those immigrants who came to the state from Bangladesh till 1966 will be given citizenship, those who came between 1967 and 1971 be allowed to settle down but not given voting rights and those who entered after 1971 should be deported.
"This (not implementing the Accord) is a gross case of abuse of power for votebank politics," Prasad said.
Prasad said no steps were taken by successive governments from 1985 to 1997 to implement this Accord and insisted that had this been done, the scenario would be very different in Assam today.
He pointed out that the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983, was scrapped by the Supreme Court and as per the Accord detection would be done on the basis of the Foreigners' Act of 1946 which puts the onus of proving citizenship on the individual.
BJP also cited the Supreme Court observations in 2005 on illegal migration into Assam from Bangladesh that "this being the situation (in Assam) there is no doubt that Assam is facing internal disturbance."
"There have been more than three lakh complaints, 10,015 individuals were identified but only 1,481 were deported," Prasad said.
BJP alleged UPA government lacks the will to send these illegal migrants out of the country. It sought to know how many times the present government had taken up this issue with Bangladesh.
"The illegal migration from Bangladesh has reached a dangerous phase. It is not only affecting the Bodos but also the tribals and other locals in Tripura, Nagaland and other states. This will have serious implications on land and other resources," a BJP leader said.
The party said outsiders are not allowed to settle in tribal-dominated areas in other states and the land rights of tribals are protected in these regions but this is being allegedly flouted with impunity in Assam.
BJP sources maintained the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not implement the Assam Accord during its six-year tenure from 1998-2004 as Trinamool Congress, which was an ally, was opposed to it.