BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 17: While not opposing the Centre's notification regularizing stay of minority refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today asserted that New Delhi cannot "force" the burden of such immigrants on the State.
"The Central government cannot compel us to take such a burden," Gogoi said, a day after Union minister VK Singh insisted that it was not practical to relocate the refuges to other states.
Gogoi took umbrage at the fact that the Central government did not discuss the issue with the State government before taking the decision.
"They should have discussed it with the AGP, AASU and other organizations of the State. You cannot impose an arbitrary decision like this. What do they think we are?" he said.
"The manner in which the present dispensation at the Centre is trying to impose things from the top undermines the spirit of cooperative federalism. It seems as if the States have no say at all," Gogoi said, adding that the State Government will not allow the identity of the Assamese people to be put at stake.
The Chief Minister said barring those who have been staying in the State for a long time due to religious and other persecution, the State would not be allowed to be overburdened.
Taking potshots at the Modi government, Gogoi said the Central government has now put the issue of ST status to the six ethnic communities of the State on back burner. "Now, they (Centre) have raked up this immigrant issue and sidelined the six communities. Only during elections do they remember the six communities."
Meanwhile, All Adivasi Students Union president Rafael Kujur today joined the Congress along with 5,000 supporters at a function organized at Rajiv Bhavan here.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister announced a housing complex for people belonging to the tea community.
"Prime Minister rendra Modi claims that he was tea seller. What is he doing for tea workers now? He is only favouring the tea company owners," Gogoi said.
APCC president Anjan Dutta said some 200 lawyers from across the State will join the Congress on Friday. "A number of leaders from political parties, student unions and tribal organizations will be joining the Congress in the coming days," Dutta said.