GUWAHATI, Sept 25 - Assam has been a victim of political injustice since the pre-Independence days, which encouraged migration of people from Bangladesh and posed a grave threat to the identity of the indigenous people of the State. Under the present circumstances, all the indigenous people of the State must join hands to put pressure on the Government to take immediate steps to deal with the problem. This is the view of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), which has already started the process of bringing different organizations representing the indigenous people of the State to launch joint movement on the issue.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya pointed out that way back in 1931, the then census head of the State, SC Mullan had warned about the threat posed to the indigenous people by large scale migration from then East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and he even went to the extent of saying that the migration would pose a greater threat to the culture and civilization of Assam than the Burmese invasion in the 1820s. But even after such a threat, an attempt was made to tag Assam with East Pakistan during the partition of the country, which was a clear case of political injustice to Assam. However, due to strong leadership of persons like Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi, the move to include Assam in East Pakistan was stalled. But the political leadership of India should have taken note of the warning of Mullan and efforts should have been made to check illegal migration after Independence, Bhattacharya said.
The AASU chief adviser pointed out that immediately after Independence, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to settle refugees coming from East Pakistan in Assam. When the then Chief Minister Gopinath Bardoloi opposed the move, Nehru even threatened to suspend financial aids to the State, which was again a clear case of political injustice to the state.
Bhattacharya said that warnings by prominent personalities have been ignored by the political leaders of the country on the issue. In 1978, the then Chief Election Commissioner SL Shakdher had warned that if illegal migration is allowed to continue the foreigners would constitute the majority of the population in Assam. In 1998, the then Governor of Assam, Lt Gen SK Sinha had sounded a strong warning about the problems that the State would face due to illegal migration in a report to the President of India. But unfortunately, all such warnings were ignored by the political leaders of the country.
Over the years, the Supreme Court and the Gauhati High Court have been admitting the fact that illegal migration is posing a grave threat to Assam. The Supreme Court even directed the Government to expedite the construction of fencing along the international border with Bangladesh and to start dialogue with the neighbouring country to evolve a mechanism to deport the Bangladeshi nationals staying illegally in India. But the Government has not been able to show the political will to deal with the problem to protect the interests of the indigenous people of Assam.
Bhattacharya said that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who made tall promises to deal with the problem before the 2014 general elections, failed to fulfil his assurances after becoming the Prime Minister. He handed over Assam's land to Bangladesh to improve relation with the neighbouring country but no agreement has yet been signed on deportation of the Bangladeshi nationals from India. The Prime Minister spoke about using technology available in Israel to improve guarding of the international border in the western sector, but he did not mention about using the same technology to guard the borders in the eastern sector, Bhattacharya added.