Centre's notification on 'minority' refugees will lead to polarization: Prafulla Mahanta
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 10: Former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said today Assam has been the "worst victim" of Partition and the burden of foreigners on the State has only got heavier since then.
"When the then Chief Minister Gopith Bordoloi wrote a letter to the Centre stating that Assam cannot alone take the burden of growing numbers of immigrants, Jawaharlal Nehru even threatened to stop Central grants," Mahanta told a press conference today. "Since then, the burden of immigrants has been rising constantly."
Reacting sharply to the Centre's recent notification on 'minority' refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan, Mahanta said it would lead to polarization in the State on religious lines and the indigenous people will be the worst sufferers.
Even after states were carved out from erstwhile Assam, the population of the State did not decrease, he said.
He said while the Union Home Ministry is the nodal agency for implementation of the Assam Accord, its recent notification on minority refugees contradicts the 1985 agreement.
"Everyone had supported the Assam Accord. The Parliament had endorsed it. Instead of putting pressure on Bangladesh to take back illegal migrants, the Central government is sympathizing with the minority refugees and laying the red carpet for them" the former CM, who was at the forefront of the Assam Agitation, said.
He said that the BJP, which had also backed the Assam Accord, should be ashamed of itself.
Taking a jibe at Governor PB Acharya for saying that the Assam Accord was not a religious scripture, Mahanta questioned under which clause of the Constitution the Governor made the statement. "The Accord was endorsed by Parliament. He is speaking beyond his mandate," Mahanta alleged.
The former CM also insisted that a section of tiol media had misreported the Assam Agitation, thereby creating a lot of misunderstanding between Assam and the rest of the country.
"If required, we will be not hesitate to launch another agitation. All those who had participated in the Assam Agitation have expressed their unhappiness over the recent notification," he said.
Mahanta said a semir will be organized in the city soon to discuss the notification and its fallout. A five-member convenor committee has been formed for the meeting which, Mahanta said, will be an apolitical one.