GUWAHATI, March 8 � Expressing strong resentment over the call made by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, urging the South East Asian nations to accommodate what she foresees to be 30 million displaced �climate migrants� from Bangladesh, public activist Prof Deven Dutta today said that the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had made matters worse by his endorsement of the proposal.
�Dr Singh has even gone one step ahead to placate his Bangladeshi counterpart by calling for a legal framework to settle the would-be climate migrants socially, culturally and economically as proposed by Hasina � unmindful of the grave implications of the move for Assam and the North-east. His action, in fact, is tantamount to a political crime,� he said at a press conference.
Pointing out that lakhs of illegal Bangladeshi migrants who had already made Assam their home and who were impacting the State�s socio-economic and political spheres adversely and with irreversible fallouts, Prof Dutta said that any worsening of the situation triggered by further invasion of so-called climate migrants would totally destroy Assam and its people.
�Assam is already bearing the brunt of large-scale illegal cross-border migration from Bangladesh over the decades, No less an authority than the Supreme Court of India has also expressed serious concern over the issue. Now, if any arrangement is done at Bangladesh�s diktat to rehabilitate climate migrants, there will be no place left for Assam�s inhabitants as they would be swamped by Bangladeshis in their hordes,� he said.
Prof Dutta said that it was apparent that in the event of submergence of Bangladesh�s coastal areas caused by global warming, the North-east � Assam in particular � would be the natural choice of the climate migrants to settle down.
�This is testified to by history, and my personal feeling is that of the 3 crore climate migrants, 2.5 crore will make Assam their home. This will result in complete devastating of Assam�s natural environment and wildlife, as forests and water-bodies would be the shelters for the migrants,� he added.��
Lambasting the opposition political parties and student organizations for their silence on the matter, Prof Dutta said that making Assam a part of Greater Bangladesh had been in the agenda of successive governments and intellectuals of Bangladesh, and that the they had found another alibi to give shape to their dream in the climatic changes taking that threaten to submerge coastal areas of Bangladesh.
Prof Dutta also criticized the pro-talk ULFA leaders for their silence on the issue.