GUWAHATI, Jan 3 - Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that the Centre would take every possible step for ensuring foolproof security on the Indo-Bangladesh border on a war-footing. He also announced that work on the unfenced portions of the Assam-Bangladesh international border would be completed within the current year.
He told this to an All Assam Students� Union (AASU) delegation while undertaking a joint survey of the border in the Karimganj sector.
The Home Minister who is on a border inspection visit to Assam will travel to the Dhubri sector tomorrow.
The AASU told the Home Minister that the people of Assam would be assuaged only on concrete results vis-�-vis border fencing and foolproof security along the entire border. The student body added that it would also seek a timeframe from the Home Minister on the matter of complete sealing of the 268-km Assam-Bangladesh border.
Singh today visited the Karimganj-Jakiganj (Bangladesh) international�riverine�border accompanied by Union Minister of State (independent) for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbananda Sonowal, AASU adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya, BJP leader and former Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma,�BJP�s Assam in charge Mahendra Singh, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, and former BJP legislator Mission Ranjan Das, among others.
A stretch of 3.5 km near Steamer-ghat, Nilomoni Path in Karimganj is yet to be fenced due to objection by the Bangladesh Government.
�We reiterated our demand before the Home Minister that this open portion must be fenced with barbed wire along with floodlight vigilance. We also expect the Home Minister to announce a timeframe for complete sealing of the Assam-Bangladesh border for checking infiltration and movement of terrorist elements,� AASU president Dipanka Nath and general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi told The Assam Tribune.
India shares a total stretch of 4,096 km international border with Bangladesh in the States of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. The stretch consists of plain, riverine, and hilly and forested areas.
Illegal migration from Bangladesh to Assam has been a contentious issue for decades, with the matter drawing global attention during the AASU-led six-year Assam Agitation from 1979 to 1985 culminating with the Assam Accord. The accord stipulated detection and deportation of illegal migrants through the judicial mechanism and sealing of the Assam-Bangladesh border.
However, stretches of the Assam-Bangladesh border remains unfenced even after 30 years of the signing of the Assam Accord. The AASU has continued pressurizing the Centre over the issue at various levels.
Our Silchar Correspondent adds: After his visit to the border areas in Karimganj sector today, Rajnath Singh said the fencing work will be wrapped up this year.
�The fencing work along the 3.5 km international border along Karimganj town will be completed within this year. The Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) had initially opposed total fencing work, but the issue has been resolved now after high-level talks between the governments of the two nations. Bangladesh has assured to extend total cooperation,� Singh said.
Replying to questions by media persons, Singh said the Central Government had sanctioned sufficient funds for the fencing work along the border with Bangladesh and the hurdles that had been delaying the task are being looked into on priority basis.
�We are in constant touch with the Bangladesh government on the issue of fencing along the border,� Singh maintained.