GUWAHATI, Sept 20 - The recent notification of the Government of India on providing shelter to foreign nationals who came to India due to religious persecution in their own countries is in violation of the provisions of the Assam Accord. This was the observation made by former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai, who is well versed with the ground situation in Assam.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Pillai admitted that the issue is a complex one and the Government of India should discuss the matter with the Assam Government and the organisations like the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) as it is doubtful whether Assam can take any more burden of foreigners.
The former Union Home Secretary pointed out that as per the provisions of the Assam Accord, all the foreigners who entered Assam after the midnight of March 24, 1971 should be detected and deported. But the recent notification of the Government of India said that the foreigners who came to India due to religious persecutions would be settled in the country. But this notification will go against the provisions of the Accord, he added.
Pillai said that infiltration into India has been going on for years and it gained momentum after the partition of the country. Even people from Afghanistan and Tibet have been given shelter in India.
But the larger question is whether such settlement of foreign nationals would change the population pattern and political equation in any State. Under the circumstances, it is doubtful whether Assam can take any more burden of foreigners and this issue should be examined carefully before taking any decision to settle foreigners, who came due to religious persecutions in their own countries, in the State.
Pillai is of the view that the Government of India can think of settling foreigners who came to India due to religious persecutions elsewhere in the country, instead of settling them in Assam, which is already facing the burden of foreigners. He expressed the view that settling such foreigners in other States of the country, which has vacant land, is very much possible. The Centre needs political will for such settlements and a study has to be carried out to find such vacant land in the States which can take additional burden of population.
It may be mentioned here that different political parties and organisations have already launched movements against the Central Government�s notification and the AASU has made it clear that Assam would not accept any more burden of foreigners.