NEW DELHI, July 2 � External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has clarified that the new relaxed visa regime applicable to a section of Bangladeshi nationals, would be for a limited period of 90 days� stay.
The External Affairs Minister explained the position of the Government of India to a high-level 18-member delegation of the State BJP that called on her today. The delegation, led by BJP State president and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, included the party�s five MLAs and the MPs, besides senior leaders.
The State BJP has been on the defensive following Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi�s attack on the BJP-led Government at the Centre over the relaxed visa regime, which India offered to Bangladesh during Swaraj�s recent Dhaka visit. Organisations like the All Assam Students� Union and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) too have voiced their concern.
Talking to newsmen, Sonowal said the External Affairs Minister disclosed that the relaxed visa regime concerning those less than 13 years and over 65 years of age, mostly involved those coming for education and medical treatment. India has offered five-year multiple entry visas to this category.
�We were told that this group would be issued with tourist visas with a maximum 90-day stay in India,� he said.
�These visas cannot be used for work or business purposes,� he further clarified, quoting the External Affairs Minister.
Swaraj has not offered any other category of visas, as being alleged by certain quarters, Sonowal defended.
The State BJP leaders claimed that they also sought a clarification on signing of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), from Swaraj. Bangladesh was told that the Constitution Amendment Bill is with the Standing Committee.
Sonowal said that the External Affairs Minister during her meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, held discussions on the twin issues of illegal infiltration and killing of Hindus in the neighbouring country. Swaraj also held discussions with the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh AH Mahmood Ali.
Sonowal flayed Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and accused him of indulging in cheap politics.