Jaitley points finger at Congress on Assam riots
Making a strident attack on the ruling party, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said that violence between tribal Bodos and settlers in Assam was due to the ‘votebank politics’ of Congress which allowed illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
“It was that pursuit of an alternative vote bank which is really responsible as the root cause of the problem,” Jaitley said in the second day of the debate on Assam riots. “You had an open border. People would come and settle down. Once people came and settled down, there was no way of pushing them back. Bangladesh, earlier East Pakistan, was not willing to take them back. This design, unconsciously and not consciously, was for a vote bank politics.”
He laid the blame entirely on the Congress for not using the Foreigners Act to push illegal immigrants out of Assam, and rather get embroiled in legal issues after setting up tribunals to determine if a person is an illegal immigrant. “Please have a clarity of thought process as to what is the approach. And the statement, Sir, we expect from you is, how did the demographic character of Assam changed, is this social tension completely related to this demographic character which changed,” said Jaitley.
He said that the government should increase relief measures in camps, but the ‘larger issue’ had to be also addressed.
Jaitley said that the all the remaining gaps in the fencing along the India-Bangladesh border should be plugged. “You cannot have more than 800 kilometres of border which is unfenced. There can be a problem with regard to the riverine border, but the rest of the border requires to be fenced.”
Referring to the demographic changes, he pointed out that while the violence-hit Kokhrajhar remained significantly Bodo, the adjoining Dhubri district has seen alarming changes in its demography.
From 71 per cent in 2001 census, Jaitley said that migrants will have increased to over 80 percent as per the new census figures.
The BJP leader said that no country will allow encroachment into its territory by illegal immigration.
“If you are willing to go back to the Congress Party’s original stand (of keeping intact the cultural and linguistic identify of Assam), probably, India will be safer in your hands, but if you want the vote bank stand which your party has subsequently taken in relation to Assam, I do not think that region or this country would be secure in your hands,” said Jaitley.