Took up infiltration issue with Bangladesh, asserts Gogoi
Guwahati, Dec 3 (IANS) Listing the steps his government have taken to curb infiltration from Bangladesh, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Monday asserted he had raised the issue with the neighbouring country's leaders during his visit to Dhaka last year.
He also sought to refute reports that he had said there were no Bangladeshis in Assam.
"My statement has been misinterpreted. I have never denied the presence of illegal immigrants in the state. If that would have been the case, my government would not have brought out the White Paper on foreigners' issue," Gogoi said in a statement issued here.
"The White Paper is a testimony to the fact that our government is committed towards the influx issue," he added.
Some local newspapers and a television channel Sunday reported that Gogoi had made the remark while addressing a public rally at Juria in Nagaon.
Gogoi said his government had taken a slew of initiatives to strengthen the machinery for detection and deportation by setting up river police stations to prevent infiltration through riverine routes, increasing the number of foreigners' tribunals, installing floodlights, construction of barbed wire fencing and border roads, setting up detention centres, updating the national register of citizens, among others.
He said he had also taken up the issue of increasing the number of judges in the foreigners' tribunals to expedite the pending cases with the central government.
The chief minister challenged the statement Saturday by a visiting delegation of parliamentarians from Bangladesh, who not only said that there is no influx from Bangladeshi post 1971 but also blamed the Indian government for not officially taking up the issue with Dhaka.
Gogoi said he had raised the issue with the 12-member, all-party Bangladeshi delegation.
"I apprised them about the fact that the influx problem has all along been there and there was a prolonged agitation which eventually culminated in the signing of the Assam Accord. However, the influx is on the decline. I also conveyed to them that my government is committed towards detecting and deporting those who came after March 25, 1971 as per the Assam Accord."
Gogoi said he even took up the issue of influx with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during his visit to Dhaka with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh September 2011.