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AASU tells CM Sonowal well done, but bigger task remains

The AASU leader said true respect to the sacrifices of the 855 persons will be paid only when the state government implements the Accord within a specific time frame.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati |
December 14, 2016 3:16:40 am
All Assam Students’ Union, Sarbananda Sonowal, Sarbananda Sonowal-Assam, Assam CM, Assam movement, AASU-ASSAM, India news, Indian Express Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal

The All Assam Students’ Union has appreciated the state government’s effort to honour those killed during the Assam movement of 1979-85 but reminded it of the main objective of the movement. At a government function Saturday, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal handed over cheques of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of 855 persons killed during the movement, spearheaded by AASU. Three days later, AASU asked him when the government would evict Bangladeshi infiltrators and provide constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people.

The reminder came from Samujjal Bhattacharyya, AASU chief adviser, who had earlier succeeded Sonowal as president of the student body. That was after the student movement had culminated in the Assam Accord of 1985.

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“We appreciate the state government’s initiative of providing such vital financial support to the families of 855 persons who had attained martyrdom when the government resorted to repressive measures against people who took part in the Assam movement of 1979-85,” Bhattacharyya said. “But it is equally, if not more, important to detect and evict thousands of Bangladeshi infiltrators and to provide constitutional protection to the indigenous communities as envisaged in the Assam Accord.”

The AASU leader said true respect to the sacrifices of the 855 persons will be paid only when the state government implements the Accord within a specific time frame.

“As of now we have not seen or heard anything about what exactly the BJP-led government wants to do about implementing the Accord,” Bhattacharyya said. “The people of Assam clearly remember Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying in 2014 that Bangladeshis would have to pack up the day the BJP came to power at the Centre. Two years later, during the Assam election campaign, the BJP once again promised to implement the Assam Accord and provide constitutional safeguards to the indigenous communities. Till date we have not seen any such move.”

Under the 1985 Accord, the cutoff for deportation agreed among the Centre, the Assam government and AASU was March 25 1971. AASU contends there were several lakh infiltrators, tribunals and courts have identified about 38,000-plus, and only 1,500-odd of them have been actually evicted so far.

Bhattacharyya recalled that the Centre recently told Parliament there were about two crore Bangladeshi infiltrators in India. “While the Centre’s statement in Parliament had only vindicated AASU’s stand, it also proves how the number of infiltrators had increased since the AASU first raised the alarm in 1979,” he said.

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