GUWAHATI, June 24 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is diverting the people�s attention on the sensitive issue of visa-free entry of the Bangla nationals of certain age groups to Assam.
Official sources here said that the Chief Minister, reacting to the BJP�s challenge to substantiate his claim on the issue, today asserted that the Union Ministry of External Affairs (BM Division) in its Office Memorandum No.I/ii/103/02/2010 dated 13th June, 2014, sent the Summary Record of Discussion that took place during the inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Foreign Secretary to Additional Chief Secretary, HS Das, and other officials of the Government of Assam. This contained the required proof on the issue, said the sources quoting the Chief Minister.
The proposal for visa-free entry to Bangladeshi nationals, under the age of 18 years and over the age of 65 years, came up during an inter-ministerial meeting convened by the Ministry of External Affairs and chaired by the Foreign Secretary of the country in New Delhi on June 11. An official press release has quoted the Chief Minister as saying that he had brought the matter before the people considering the fact that �illegal migration from Bangladesh is a very sensitive issue for Assam as well as other States of the north-eastern region.�
�Our Government strongly opposed the proposal on the ground that illegal migration from Bangladesh was a very sensitive issue in Assam and other north-eastern States and that visa-free entry would have repercussions in terms of negative public reactions,� the Chief Minister said.
He further stated, �As the Ministry of Home Affairs conveyed that this new proposal would require more time for processing, the Ministry of External Affairs suggested that this could be initially considered for Bangladeshi citizens of below 10 years and over 70 years of age. This proposal was also strongly turned down by our Government. Our stand is clearly stated in the record of discussion.�