Assam - The Second Coming


There is something very interesting brewing in far flung Assam, in the North-East region of India. The perrenial issue of illegal infiltration of Bangladeshi nationals across the long, porous and thinly guarded Indo-Bangladesh border or more appropriately, the Assam-Bangladesh border into Assam is raising its head again. This looks to be the second coming of the AASU (All Assam Students Union) under whose leadership the first edition of the anti-Bangladeshi agitation took place. Although, this time too the AASU is in the forefront of the agitation, the nature of the movement that is silently simmering within the state is significantly different from the revolution that took place between 1979 to 1985. This time there is a distinct method to the whole process of protest as against the fractious and hyper-emotional surge in the 80's. This time, there has been a conscious effort to garner support from all sections of society living within the state, including even Bangladeshis who have migrated to Assam before the cut off year of 1971. What's more encouraging is that it is working. Bangladeshi muslims who had come to Assam before 1971 have openly come in support of the movement to deport post-1971 migrants. Again, this time round, the AASU has taken the ethnic tribes and tribal organizations into confidence in formulating every step of the movement. Even like minded political parties have been taken into the fold. These pragmatic measures have given this particular agitation a potential to attain a more redoubtable stature than any that have preceded it. The AASU has shown tremendous maturity and intelligence in dealing with the whole situation and my hat off to them for that. The present Congress-led Assam government, headed by Tarun Gogoi, has often been accused of protecting the interests of the foreign nationals from Bangladesh in return for votes. There have even been reports of the government agencies facilitating issuance of citizenship certificates to the foreign nationals in an attempt to create 'blocks' of guaranteed votes in the state. Now is the time for the Congress party to disprove these allegations. It is a golden opportunity for the government to prove its patriotism by joining hands with the AASU and its affiliates in formulating and implementing a foolproof plan for detection and deportation of all illegal migrants post 1971. If the government turns away from this situation now, the Congress party will surely be branded as a party of traitors in the eyes of the people of Assam. I am sure they do not want that to happen.

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