By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 29: Though the Assam Government has brushed aside the allegation of involvement of cross border Bangladeshi miscreants in the Kokrajhar ethnic violence, the weak defence structure along the India-Bangladesh border and non-stop infiltration of Bangladeshi nationals across the porous stretch of the border in Assam point to a possible role of cross border elements in the Kokrajhar massacre.
The sectarian violence in Kokrajhar has claimed around 50 lives and rendered more than 4 lakh people homeless.
The involvement of cross border Bangladeshi nationals in the Kokrajhar violence was first raised by Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary triggering a debate across the political spectrum. Mohilary even claimed that heavily armed Bangladeshi nationals entered the State by boats through Dhubri district.
The BTC chief’s claim was also denied by the Central Government which said the cross border elements had played no role in the Kokrajhar violence.
But Mohilary’s claim has brought the issue of illegal infiltration into Assam from Bangladesh again to the fore, which both the Central and State governments have long been neglecting. It is also not important whether Mohilary’s claim is true or false but the State Government should have taken it seriously instead of simply denying it.
Despite protests from several quarters over the State Government’s lethargic attitude towards the identification, detection and deportation of foreign nationals from Assam, Dispur has so far failed to take any pro-active steps to deal with these issues.
Most surprisingly, the State Government has also failed to strengthen the second line defence along the Indo-Bangla border. The second line defence is manned by the Assam Police. The first line defence along the international border is manned by the Border Security Force (BSF).
Consider this: About 126 police personnel (68 from the Unarmed Branch and 58 from the Armed Branch) are currently manning the second line defence along the Indo-Bangla border.
According to official records, out of the total number of foreigners identified by the Foreigners Tribunals and the now defunct Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal ) Act from 1986-2012, 39,287 of the identified foreign nationals are now absconding. “It’s a serious matter. The missing foreigners could have been involved in anti-social activities in the State,” said the sources.
The unfenced parts of the border encourage the cross-border infiltrators to enter Assam at their will. Assam has 263-km long border with Bangladesh.
Sources further said the question of involvement of cross border nationals in the Kokrajhar violence would not have cropped up if the State Government was successful in sealing the entire Indo-Bangla border in the Assam part and strengthening the second line defence along its international border.
So, it’s a wake-up call for Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.