GUWAHATI: Amidst the controversy about a proposal on visa-free entry to Bangladesh nationals, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today accused the BJP of diverting people's attention on the sensitive issue.
In a statement here, the Chief Minister said that he brought the matter before the people as "illegal migration from Bangladesh is a very sensitive issue for Assam as well as other states of the Northeastern region.
He said that the proposal for visa-free entry to Bangladesh nationals under the age of 18 years and over the age of 65 years came up during an inter-ministerial meeting convened by the Ministry of External Affairs and chaired by Foreign Secretary in New Delhi on June 11.
"Our Government strongly opposed the proposal on the ground that illegal migration from Bangladesh was a very sensitive issue in Assam and other Northeastern states and that visa-free entry would have repercussions in terms of negative public reactions," Gogoi said.
"As the Ministry of Home Affairs conveyed that this new proposal would require more time for processing, the Ministry of External Affairs suggested that this could be initially considered for Bangladesh citizens of age below 10 years and over 70 years," he said.
Stating that the proposal was turned down by the state government, he said "Our stand is clearly stated in the record of discussion."
"The Ministry of External Affairs (BM Division) vide Office Memorandum No. I/ii/103/02/2010 dated 13th June, 2014 sent the Summary Record of Discussion that took place during the inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Foreign Secretary to Additional Chief Secretary H S Das and other officials of Government of Assam," Gogoi added.