Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday sought the cooperation of all political parties for rehabilitation of violence-affected people in Kokrajhar and neighbouring districts now taking shelter in relief camps. The Chief Minister said his government would soon convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. While the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already taken up the matter for investigation, the State government would also order a judicial probe into the violence, he said. Mr. Gogoi dismissed the claim made by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) about the presence of “foreigners” among inmates of the relief camps and described it as “a blatant lie.” He insisted that all the inmates were Indian citizens. If there were foreigners, they would be identified and expelled. Over 3 lakh violence-affected people are still taking shelter in relief camps in Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Chirang and Bongaingaon.
The Chief Minister said his government would come out with a white paper on measures taken to curb illegal migration across the Assam-Bangladesh border. He claimed that illegal migration from Bangladesh had come down, but admitted that the foreigners’ absconding, detected by tribunals, was still a problem. Mr. Gogoi said expulsion of detected foreigners was a problem faced not only by Assam but also by other States and the problem had to be resolved the Centre. According to official figures furnished by the State government in the Assembly, various tribunals detected altogether 54,506 foreigners since the Assam Accord was signed in 1985 till April 30, 2012. Of them 2,431 have been expelled while 39,287 were absconding while 95 are in detention camps.
Mr. Gogoi rejected the demand for dissolution of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and scrapping of the Bodo Accord as demanded by the All-India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). The Bodo Accord guaranteed protection of land rights of non-tribal people living in areas ruled by the BTC and if the accord was scrapped, the protection of land rights would go, he added. Elaborating, he said that prior to creation of the BTC, these areas were under the tribal belt where only the tribals enjoyed land rights. However, the Bodo Accord guaranteed that non-tribals, living in the BTC areas, also enjoyed land rights.
Reacting to the demand raised by AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal for his removal as Chief Minister, Mr. Gogoi said: “Mr. Ajmal has always been seeking my ouster and praying to Allah. My good luck to him. Allah would answer his prayer. He has been trying to make a Chief Minister from among his friends. My good luck to them also.” Asked by journalists if he would reveal the names of Mr. Ajmal’s friends, Mr. Gogoi said such friends were certainly from the Congress party as only someone from the ruling party can be a Chief Minister, dropping hints at differences surfacing within his party.