Last Saturday, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi made the bizarre allegation that the Assam movement against foreigners illegally living in Assam and even voting in our elections, that had a run of six years from 1979 to 1985, was completely sponsored by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to exploit the sentiments of the Assamese people. This is what Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said at a press conference last Saturday: “The RSS entirely funded the movement which was initially an anti-outsider movement. It later turned from an anti-foreigners to an anti-Bangladeshi infiltrator movement. During the movement, the RSS here was headed by one Rajendra Prasad. The RSS backed protesters, particularly the All Assam Students Union (AASU) leadership, and provided all kinds logistical help, even when they were in jail, to carry out (on) the movement.” It hardly surprises anyone that Tarun Gogoi has lately started making the most bizarre statements and allegations. There are two aspects of many of his statements that continue to astonish everyone in the State. One is that Tarun Gogoi has started manufacturing ‘facts’. The other is his penchant for alluding to events that happened two or three decades ago as if they were recent events. However, the latest one of his shenigans relating to the Assam Movement puts all his earlier untrue statements in the shade.
The Assam Movement got launched in 1979 and was brought to an end six years later in 1985. It came to an end 31 years ago. Tarun Gogoi has been Chief Minister of Assam for 15 years. Why did he have to wait for 31 years to come out with a manufactured fact about the Assam Movement, considering that he also spoke about the 855 martyrs of the Assam Movement—all students shot down by a Congress government for making a very legitimate demand on behalf of the people of Assam: that the foreign infiltrators be detected, disfranchised and deported. What is worse, he now claims—after 31 years—that the RSS funded the movement with the sole purpose of exploiting the sentiments of the Assamese people to achieve its “goal”. He does not mention what that goal was because he cannot. After all, he is manufacturing ‘facts’. Tarun Gogoi also talks about the AASU having ceded enough ground for the cut-off date for migrants from Bangladesh to become March 24, 1971. Most people do not quite understand why there was need for a separate cut-off date for Assam alone, just as a separate immigration law was ected exclusively for Assam. Article 6 of the Indian Constitution has stipulated a cut-off date for persons who migrated to India from Pakistan, mely the 19th day of July, 1948. In having a separate cut-off date for Assam alone, the Congress government both at the Centre and in Assam rejected the cut-off date stipulated under Article 6 of the Constitution and decided to have a separate date for our State alone. Both this move and the ectment of the Illegal Migrants (Determition by Tribuls) Act, 1983 as a separate immigration law for just one State were initiatives to actively protect illegal migrants from Bangladesh and other foreign countries even to the extent of jeopardizing the security of the inhabitants of Assam. It took 22 years for the IM(DT) Act to be quashed by the Supreme Court with very adverse remarks and fines imposed on the Assam government. In any case, 22 years was a long time for the Assam government to do as much mischief it wanted in the matter of providing a carte blanche to all illegal migrants to do just what they pleased in Assam without the district administration or the police being able to detect and deport them as is done in all civilized countries. If Himanta Biswa Sarma is asking for 1951 as the cut-off date now, what is there to be surprised at? After all, 1951 is still three years behind the date stipulated by Article 6 of the Constitution, and would still constitute a rejection of the cut-off date set for the entire country. Why should this be necessary unless the Congress government at the Centre as well as in the State put a high priority on a cut-off date for migrants from Bangladesh that was 23 years behind the cut-off date set for the entire country in Article 6 of our Constitution.
Tarun Gogoi has got into the habit of talking about secret killings carried out by the AGP and the NDA at the drop of a hat. He has also spoken about the 855 students that died in the Assam Movement. Why does he not talk about how they died. Quite obviously, they did not commit hara-kiri. They were shot down by the security forces deployed by the Congress government at close range and in cold blood. The only difference was that there was no secrecy about these killings. And why were they shot down in cold blood? They were shot down because they had the courage to oppose what the State government was doing to keep all the illegal voters and to prevent the deportation of the illegal migrants. While Tarun Gogoi merely talks about 855 students who died, the people of Assam rightly regard them as martyrs.
It is an insult to the Assamese people to claim that that the RSS or anyone finced the Assam movement. Those who know how the six-year-long Assam movement was sustained are also aware that the people themselves sustained it. A whole lot of organizations that supported the movement doted liberally to it. But that is no reason to claim that a people’s movement was sponsored by the RSS merely because the RSS and the NDA government too might have supported the Assam movement.