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Centre, State ignored Army warnings


GUWAHATI, Aug 26 - Over the years, several senior Army officers posted in Assam had warned the Central and State Governments about the possible security threats to the nation because of illegal migration but unfortunately, successive governments at Delhi and Dispur did not pay adequate attention to such warnings. The contention of the Army officers was that the large scale infiltration would not only affect the social fabric of Assam, but might pose a grave security threat to the nation in the long run.

During his tenure as the GOC of the 4 Corps of the Army during 1999-2000, Lt Gen DB Shekhatkar had also written to the Government expressing concern over the large scale infiltration into Assam and warned that it might pose serious security threat to the nation in the days to come. But the Government did not pay heed to the warnings. He had sent copies of the letter to the Union Home Ministry, State Governor, State Chief Secretary and his superior officers in the Eastern Command and Army Headquarter.

The letter pointed out the grave threat posed by illegal migration and that a demographics change is taking place because of illegal migration, particularly in a few districts of Assam, which would create social disturbance. Such migration would seriously affect the economy and change the voting pattern. That will pose a serious security threat to the country in the long run and the future generations would suffer badly. �We can foresee the implications of such migration and the future generations will never forgive us if we do not act now to deal with the problem,� the letter said.

When contacted by The Assam Tribune, Lt Gen Shekhatkar, who is also known as one of the prominent security analysts of the country,

admitted that he had written such letters to the State and Central Governments and said, � it is the duty of any Army officer to deal with national security. I wrote the letters because I could foresee a threat to the security of the nation because of illegal migration.� He said that two Governors of Assam and two of his predecessors in the 4 Corps of the Army had written similar letters to the Government voicing their concern over the illegal migration and the possible security threats.

Lt Gen Shekhatkar admitted that after he wrote the letters, a few of his �superiors� had questioned him why he wrote such letters. �My reply was that I did nothing wrong. The duty of the Army is to protect the country and when I see a security threat, it is my responsibility to point it out to the Government. I did not cross my limits by pointing out a grave threat to the nation,� he added.

Lt Gen Shekhatkar also said that illegal migration is a curse to the people of Assam as it changed the demography, social life and culture of the people, while, it also puts additional burden to the economy. There is also a hidden agenda behind the migration as some people want to increase their political powers with a long term goal and in the long run, it will pose a serious security threat to India. He pointed out that the European countries now have serious concern over large scale migration from the Middle East and North Africa.

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