Centre mulling on offering citizenship to Bangladeshis in enclaves on Indian side
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, February 19: New Delhi is considering offering Indian citizenship to Bangladeshis settled in enclaves on the Indian side as part of the Land Boundary Agreement, reports said, triggering a fresh wave of unrest in Assam, where organizations are already up in protest against the land swap deal.
India on Wednesday apprised Bangladesh about the status of ratification of their Land Boundary Agreement, indicating that a Constitutiol Amendment Bill may be taken up by Parliament soon to demarcate the boundary.
Media reports said that Union Home secretary L C Goyal told his Bangladesh counterpart Mozzamel Haque Khan that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has unimously approved the Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013, for its consideration and passage by Parliament.
The BJP and Trimool Congress were earlier opposed to the Bill.
New Delhi is discussing the modalities of execution and implementation of the LBA on the ground. Among the proposals include offering Indian citizenship to the Bangladeshis settled in enclaves here, while giving Indian citizens settled in enclaves across the border, the option of moving base to Indian territory. The latter category is proposed to be compensated and suitably rehabilitated upon arrival in India, media reports said, even though there has been no official word from the Central government.
Following the reports, there were immediate and sharp reactions in Assam.
All Assam Students Union general secretary Tapan Kumar Gogoi said the Centre’s decision is not acceptable.
“Our stand is clear. All the illegal migrants who entered Assam after March 25, 1971 must leave. The Government should have sealed the borders and signed a bilateral agreement to ensure that Bangladesh takes back its citizens. Instead, Prime Minister rendra Modi is contemplating on giving citizenship status to the Bangladeshis. If the Centre goes ahead with this decision, we will launch a vigorous agitation,” he said.
AGP general secretary Durga Das Boro also warned of “serious consequences” if the Centre goes ahead with the move. “Before the general elections, Modi had said that illegal Bangladeshis will have to leave the country after May 16 (counting day). And now, they have rolled out the red carpet to them. It is sheer disrespect to the people of Assam who voted for the BJP,” Boro said, asking the Centre to withdraw the decision.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity president Akhil Gogoi described the decision as the “height of betrayal”. He said Assam will not take the burden of a single Bangladeshi tiol and appealed to the people of the State to oppose the move tooth and il.