Kiren Rijiju defends Centre's decision as Congress targets Sarbanda Sonowal
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 21: The war of words between the Congress and BJP over regularization of 'minority' refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan continued today, with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the State Congress targeting Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal for making a "U-turn" on the issue of illegal migrants.
"He (Sonowal) is dividing illegal migrants on religious lines. It is a disregard to the Constitution which upholds the principle of secularism. That is the difference between the Congress and the BJP. We have never classified immigrants on commul lines," Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.
In a statement, APCC secretary Ritupar Konwar said that Sonowal was hailed as a "tiol hero" after the IMDT Act was repealed by the Supreme Court in response to his petition. "Now, his party is giving citizenship status to immigrants on religious lines. Nothing can be more shameful," Konwar said.
He said Sonowal, when he was in the AASU and AGP, had been insisting on 1971 as the cut-off year for detecting foreigners. "But now he has made a U-turn for political interest," he charged.
In New Delhi, Union minister Kiren Rijiju defended the Central government's decision to regularize the stay of minority refugees. "Being a democratic, secular and mature country, it is India's responsibility to protect such refugees who have fled their countries due to religious persecution," he said.
Rijiju, however, said Assam will not have to take the sole burden of such refugees and that the burden will be shared between various states.
Mounting his attack on the State's Congress government, Rijiju said, "The Congress has ruled Assam for fifty years. It has destroyed the State. We are committed to protect the people of Assam."