I am worried about the trouble in Assam, and its fall out. Where will all the displaced go to, even as the trouble torn areas limp back to normalcy? There are as per estimate three to four hundred thousand people in make shift camps, where living conditions are abominable. There are sick children.
The All Bodo Students Union have categorically stated that illegal immigrants cannot be rehabilitated. This all goes back to the Assam movement, a people's movement for the ouster of illegal immigrants. An accord was implemented with student leaders which clearly stated that post 1971 immigrants would be deported and borders sealed. The Government must come out with an honest statement as to what action has been taken.
The point is, that not only has the demography of Assam been in siege, but the Assamese and other communities of Assam will lose their identities, a fate that has befallen in Tripura. Also, states like Meghalaya and Nagaland are seriously threatened, as the influx there is silently taking place. I do not condone violence of any form, but it is a fact that immigration is taking place, in other parts of the country such as Delhi and West Bengal as well. The fact also, that these immigrants are Muslims, give the problem a ticklish, complex twist, and Muslim baiters are always there to cash on the situation.
We have to forget the religious factor, and think of tackling the problem on the basis of migration which is not legal. Also the immigrants speak Bengali, which is also an Indian language, very obviously, and this again further sensitizes the issue, most of them speak Bengali dialects of the then East Bengal, now Bangladesh. At the same time we must remember that Assam has its own distinct Muslim and Bengali population.
The Government must take stock of the problems in the following manner:
This is just a tentative suggestion, which maybe considered pragmatically, after discussion with stakeholders. The fears of the local people are based on well founded threats to culture, economy and possessions such as land, which is the most valuable asset to the cultivator and the commoner. Before passions run further high, both the state and central governments must come out with solutions to prevent further incursions and inroads to the culture and integrity of the various peoples inhabiting the beautiful land of Assam.
- Be honest. What steps have been taken till now? How many people have been sent back?
- What were the mechanisms used to identify illegal migrants?
- How have borders been sealed?
- If not immediate steps be taken.
- Those who are occupying land illegally may be given limited citizenship without voting rights, and buying property or land. They may be given work permits, to be renewed periodically.