Flagging concerns of people rendered homeless in violence-hit Assam, BJP leader L.K. Advani on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure their rehabilitation so that they do not meet the same fate as Kashmiri Pandits who could not go back.
“I express their concerns today and I expect the Prime Minister, who represents Assam in Parliament, that he should be most concerned about the rehabilitation of Indians rendered homeless in Assam and make efforts in this regard,” he told reporters in New Delhi after hoisting the national flag at his residence on the occasion of Independence Day.
Mr. Advani hoped the plight of those rendered homeless in Assam due to ethnic violence would not be the same as that of lakhs of people from Kashmir who had fled their home state after violence and could never return despite talk of their rehabilitation.
“In the history of India, lakhs of people from Kashmir have been rendered homeless due to violence and they had fled Kashmir to other parts of the country and could never return back even though it has been stated many times that all those who left their homes will be rehabilitated.
“In Kokrajhar of Assam, people who were forced to leave their homes after their houses were burnt down are today fearing if their position will also be the same. Today they are living in camps and they wonder whether they will ever be able to go back or not,” he said.
Mr. Advani said the violent attacks on tribals in Assam should be seen as an attack against all Indians. He also condemned the violence against people from the north east in other parts of the country in the wake of ethnic violence in Assam.
Mr. Advani recalled that Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had after independence expressed fears on issue of nation’s unity and said in today’s context if anyone has a complaint on this it is the people from the north east.
“In Kokrajhar, people who were forced to leave their homes after their houses were burnt down are today fearing if their position will also be the same (as that of those from Kashmir). Today they are living in camps and they wonder whether they will ever be able to go back or not,” he said.
Mr. Advani also condemned the violent incidents in Pune and Mumbai in the aftermath of Assam violence and said such attacks were against the nation and not just against the people from the north east.
“Whatever happened in Pune and Mumbai in last few days is certainly very serious and should be condemned...Whatever incidents happened in Mumbai, like the attacks on Martyrs Memorial, the government should recognise that such incidents are not just against the people living in the north east but also against the nation,” he said.
Mr. Advani hoped the government would ensure the safety of people from the north east and dispel fears in their mind.
“I would expect that the Indian government should be concerned about the safety of people of the north east so that no doubts are created in their mind and it should assure them that the whole nation is standing behind them.
“The nation will not tolerate any kind of violence against them. We expect that the Government of India and the states should also adopt such an attitude towards them,” he said.
The BJP leader said Mr. Mukherjee had led the party in an agitation against the permit law in Kashmir seeking a single constitution, emblem and prime minister in the country.
He said, “Though Mukherjee had gone healthy, he got arrested but never came back alive from there. Nobody knows what had happened to him.”