Date: 8/28/2002



................Bangladeshi may become Assam CM: AASU

........................G. Vinayak in Guwahati

The All Assam Students Union, an influential pressure group in the northeastern state, has warned that a Bangladeshi national may become chief minister of Assam in the next decade if the unabated influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh is not halted.

“Assam may become part of Bangladesh and a foreigner may take over as chief minister if the Centre and state government do not take steps to stop infiltration from Bangladesh," AASU adviser Sammujal Bhattacharyya said in Guwahati on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of the completion of 17 years of the Assam Accord, Bhattacharyya said: “The central and state governments compromised with national security by not implementing the Assam Accord. We may be forced to launch a mass movement for solution of the problem caused by the influx of foreigners.”

“They (the central and state governments) are only interested in creating a vote bank of foreign nationals,” AASU president Prabin Boro alleged.

The Centre and AASU signed an accord on August 15, 1985 to end the six-year long movement against foreign nationals. The then AASU leadership went on to form the Asom Gana Parishad party and captured political power under Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. The AGP has since been accused of compromising with its main plank – that of evicting foreigners from Assam -- in pursuit of power.

Despite the central government admitting on the floor of Parliament that agents of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence and Al Qaeda had established roots in Assam nothing was being done to check such threats to national security, Bhattacharyya said.

The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983 not only provided protection to illegal migrants but also to ISI and Al Qaeda agents, he said.

During the Assam agitation, Bhattacharya pointed out Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani extended their support to the movement, but they forgot about the issue after coming to power. He alleged that the AGP, which was formed to implement the Assam Accord, betrayed the people of Assam.

AGP governments headed by Mahanta had ruled the state for 10 years after signing the accord, but no serious step was taken to implement the accord and to seal the international border, he added.