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Minorities will be protected, says Gogoi

Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: The Assam Government on Wednesday asked all deputy commissioners and district superintendents of police to ensure that no genuine Indian citizens were harassed in their districts in the name of detection and deportation of illegal migrants.

This was revealed by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Ministers earlier to review the situation following the Supreme Court striking down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983. Mr. Gogoi declined to make any comment on the judgment saying that the State Government was yet to see a copy of the judgment.

He, however, said that the Government would explore the possibility of ensuring some sort of legal protection to minorities under the Foreigners Act 1946 in consultation with the Congress high command and the UPA Government at the Centre.

Security has been beefed up throughout the State in view of the call for Assam bandh given by the two factions of the All Assam Minorities Students' Union (AAMSU) for Thursday and Friday.

The United Minorities Front has also come out in the support of the bandh which has been called to protest the failure of the Congress Government to sincerely fight the legal battle in the apex court.

UMF president Hafiz Rashid Choudhury said that his party has convened a meeting of all minorities organisations on July 16 to discuss the situation arising out of the striking down of the Act and to decide the next course of action.

Choudhury said that minorities bodies would explore the possibility of filing an appeal in the apex court or to raise the demand for enactment of new legislation that would be applicable throughout the country.

The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) on the other hand, while welcoming the Supreme Court verdict, had appealed to the minorities not to panic and promised full protection to all pre-1971 migrants.

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