NEW DELHI: The BJP-led NDA government’s initiative to provide either citizenship or long-term visa to Hindu refugees from Bangladesh has sparked strong protests from various organisations in Assam- be it All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) or the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)

The Centre’s move has come at a time when the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh is a grave problem for the indigenous people of Assam, so much so, that these locals are on the verge of losing their dominance in the state.

Making their stand clear, AASU adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya strongly opposed the Central government’s bid to accord either long-term visa or citizenship to Hindu ‘refugees’ migrants from Bangladesh.

Stating that Assam is a small state that can no longer shoulder the burden of swelling population of illegal Bangladeshi migrants who must not be classified according to their religion, he said “As far as we are concerned illegal Bangladeshi migrants must be deported and it will be better the BJP government doesn’t try to violate the clauses of Assam Accord by trying to classify a section of Bangladeshi migrants as Hindu refugees for providing them citizenship or long-term visa”.

He added, “as per the Assam Accord signed in 1985, Assam has agreed to take the burden of all illegal migrants from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) from all religions who had infiltrated the state before March 25, 1971. But those Bangladeshi migrants who have come to Assam illegally after March 25, 1971 must be deported as per Assam Accord irrespective of their religion. There will be no compromise on it,”

Similar views were expressed by the regional organisation Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) too.

Strongly opposing the BJP government’s move, the AGP President Atul Bora said that “the migrants from Bangladesh who are posing grave threat to the indigenous population in Assam must be deported irrespective of their religion”.

This move by the BJP government, seen in the wake of the rise of Hindutva in the country along with the recent conversions taking place, paints quite a grim picture making it only natural to question the real motive behind this initiative.