'Reserving land for indigenous key to preventing influx'
BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Jan 7: Senior Supreme Court lawyer and convenor of the Prabrajan Birudhi Mancha Upamanyu Hazarika has said land reservation for indigenous people can go a long way in checking illegal migration from Bangladesh.
According to him, availability of land is the main reason driving Bangladeshi people to migrate to Assam.
"In Bangladesh, the population density is 1,222 people per sq km. In Assam, it is 397 per sq km. If we can protect our land, we can prevent the migration," Hazarika, who was interacting with jourlists as the Guest of Month at Guwahati Press Club, said.
He suggested that the base year for land reservation should be 1951.
"We should have a policy which will ensure that land can be transferred only to the descendents of those citizens whose mes were there in the 1951 NRC. And those who have acquired land after 1971, should be able to sell their property only to indigenous people. Such a land policy is there in Meghalaya, where no outsider can buy land," he said.
Hazarika also said that there should be 100 per cent reservation for indigenous people in government jobs and contractual works.
"We must ensure that the demography is in favor of the indigenous people," Hazarika, who has been of late leading a campaign against illegal migration, said.
He also felt that the exercise to update the tiol Register of Citizens is not a solution to the problem.
"Assam Accord was not for NRC, but for detection and deportation of foreigners. The NRC will identify the citizens. But what about the foreigners?" he asked.
Hazarika said alongside updating the NRC, steps should be taken to implement the Assam Accord in toto, clear encroachments and investigate how migrants are acquiring vital documents that might qualify them as Indian citizens. He also opposed granting of citizenship to children of migrants who entered Assam after 1971.
Hazarika rued that political parties, instead of addressing the sensitive issues, were pushing these to the Supreme Court.
"The year 2015-16 is significant for the State. This year will decide if the indigenous people in the State will be reduced to minority by the year 2040," he added.
Hazarika's comments came days after peasant leader Akhil Gogoi compelled the State government to commit land pattas to settlers in government lands.