Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani on Tuesday alleged that the “Congress collusion in illegal migration from Bangladesh” is the root cause of recurring violence in Assam. For the violence in Kokrajhar and three other districts, he blamed the State government’s “criminal delay in dealing with the situation.”

Mr. Advani said he fully endorsed the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that the violence was a blot on the country and that the guilty must be punished. He urged Dr. Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to “honestly introspect where the guilt lies” and “how did all this happen.”

“Today’s situation arose firstly because of a criminal delay in dealing with the situation when symptoms were already there that something could happen. But as I said, introspection must lead to identification of the root cause, which is illegal migration from Bangladesh,” he told journalists. Mr. Advani was on a two-day visit to the State, during which he visited the relief camps in Kokrajhar on Monday.

“First, the indigenous people of Assam are feeling alienated as they are losing control over their own land, while illegal Bangladeshis have embarked on a large-scale land grab policy. Second is the ethnic problem faced by the Bodos, who feel threatened that they will be marginalised in their own areas, in their own land. The third is the demographic change that is taking place in entire Assam. The native residents are feeling that they would be squeezed out and disempowered by the immigrant population,” he said. The combined effect of “these three problems” posed a serious threat to the unity and security of the country.

In a statement, Mr. Advani said, “On behalf of the BJP and the NDA, I wish to make it clear that the problem that Assam is facing is not the Hindu vs. Muslim conflict. Rather, it is clearly a conflict between Indian nationals and foreigners.”