NEW DELHI, Aug 8 � A team of CBI and Home Ministry officials is reaching Assam tomorrow to assess the situation, even as Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde said that the Army has been kept on standby mode and the Centre would not hesitate to deploy it again.
The Home Minister�s reply came at the end of an Adjournment Motion discussion on Assam violence in the Parliament that fell through in voice vote. Shinde though played safe while replying to the debate and reeled out statistics about the initiatives taken by the Government.
He informed that he has been keeping in touch with Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi on a regular basis and has decided not to take any chances. �I have kept the Army on standby and will not hesitate to use it, if the situation demands. If there is a need for Army deployment, we will take action,� he assured with Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress president, Sonia Gandhi looking on.
A Central team comprising top officials of CBI and Joint Secretary (North-East) of Home Ministry are going to Assam tomorrow. The Central Government is very clear in its mind and wants the situation to return to normalcy soon, Shinde said.
The debate in both the Houses turned into a war of words between the ruling UPA and Opposition BJP after LK Advani described the Kokrajhar turmoil as a clash between Indian and Bangladeshis.
In a day of high drama, both the Houses of the Parliament had to be adjourned following Opposition BJP�s bid to rake up the issue early in the day through an Adjournment motion in Lok Sabha. In the Rajya Sabha too, there was trouble, after the Chair refused to suspend the Question Hour for a discussion on Assam.
But the UPA crisis managers in a smart move decided to concede to the Opposition BJP�s demand and have a debate under the Adjournment motion, which was moved by chairman of NDA Advani himself.
At least nine notices of Adjournment Motion were submitted by MPs including Shailendra Kumar, Yogi Aditya Nath, S K Bwiswamuthiary, Anant G Geete, L K Advani, Basu Deb Acharia, Sharad Yadav, Dr Ram Chandra Dome and P Karunakaran regarding failure of the Government in assessing the situation arising out of the illegal infiltration into Assam and in curbing the large scale ethnic violence in BTAD area of Kokrajhar and Dhubri and other districts.
The day-long debate saw frequent interruptions and pandemonium in both the Houses. The only encouraging sign was the decision of both the ruling Party and the Opposition BJP to field MPs from the State. While Union Minister of State for DoNER, Paban Singh Ghatowar opened the debate from the ruling Party�s side in the Lok Sabha, Congress fielded Bhubaneswar Kalita in Rajya Sabha. Both Ghatowar and Ranee Narah spoke in Assamese in Lok Sabha, as did Kumar Deepak Das in Rajya Sabha.
The discussion itself turned into a slanging match, as the spot light shifted to the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh, as it was traced as the root cause of the current turmoil.
In the Lok Sabha, the tone was set by Advani, who demanded that the Centre should give figures of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the country.�The Home Minister should tell us how many illegal immigrants are across the country and particularly in the area where Bodos live,� Advani said.
�People in Assam feel that they are losing their lands and Bodos feel that in their own land they are foreigners,� the senior BJP leader said, adding that the country should have a National Register of Citizens and those who are not citizens should have their names stricken from it, he said.
Meanwhile, participating in the discussion in Lok Sabha, Ghatowar hinted at the possibility of the Centre considering the demand for review of the Bodo Accord. Since the signing of the Bodo Accord, at least four riots have taken place and we have to examine the issue,� he said, amidst frequent interruptions by BJP MPs.
The Minister further castigated the BJP for trying to give communal colour to the clash arguing that the Centre was committed to identify illegal migrants. But in the name of illegal migrants genuine Indian citizens cannot be harassed, he added.
Bijoya Chakraborty of BJP launching an attack on the Congress Party�s policy of appeasing the migrants wondered why the Army was deployed late leading to high casualties. The Congress Party�s greed for votes is the reason for the mess in Assam, she alleged.
Joining issue, Ranee Narah said that a third force was responsible for the violence. That third force should be identified by the government, continuing with the aggressive tone of the Congress MPs.
The MPs who participated in the high decibel debate included Rajen Gohain, S K Bwiswamuthiary, Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav among others.