Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani today termed the violence in Assam "unprecedented" and ripped into the Congress-led government at the Centre for its handling of the issue. He even described the riots between Bodo tribals and Bengali speaking migrants, which have claimed over 70 lives in Assam the last one month, as the "greatest failure" of the UPA government.
Mr Advani said the people of Assam "have become refugees in their own state," and added that when he visited relief camps in Kokrajhar - the epicenter of the clashes - people there told him they were worried they may never be able to return to their homes. "People in Assam feel that if this would have happened in any other part of the country, more stringent measures would have been taken," he said.
He claimed that illegal immigration from Bangladesh, allegedly encouraged by the Congress for vote-bank politics, is to be blamed for the violence in Assam. Mr Advani even caused a storm with a remark that questioned the legitimacy of the UPA government.
Speaking at length on the situation in Assam, he suggested that the PM and Home Minister set a target for the government in Assam and share it with the House.
Here are Mr Advani's five-point suggestions on Assam:1) Treat Assam violence as Indian versus foreigner issue:
The senior BJP leader said Assam riot should not be looked at from a communal viewpoint. "The violence in Assam should not be seen as a communal incident. Let no one regard it as a Hindu versus Muslim affair or a tribal versus non-tribal one. The basic issue is between Indians and the infiltrators from across the border," Mr Advani said in the Lok Sabha.
2) Update the National Register of Citizens:
Mr Advani stressed on the need to have an updated National Register of Citizens. "I expect the PM or Home Minister to put on record what the number of illegal immigrants in India is, particularly in Assam," he said. "In some places in Assam, there are so many illegal immigrants that soon someone will say they are a part of Bangladesh," he said, expressing surprise. 3) Non-violability of tribal land:
Mr Advani insisted that the government should ensure that land belonging to Bodo tribals is not occupied by non-tribals.4) Security of Assam should be treated as security for the entire country:
Mr Advani said infiltration from Bangladesh is affecting the security of the whole country. "It is a problem not just for Assam, but for the whole of India, this should be recognized." He added that if "steps are not taken to discern between the voters who are Indian citizens and the doubtful voters then the situation can explode again. The infiltration from Bangladesh is a very serious issue and the Centre has to answer for it." He also said that the "unabated" infiltration over the past several years was not a matter to be handled just by the state government. "I cannot think of a greater failure of the Central government than this. ... It is the greatest failure and is a grave crisis for national security."
5) Disenfranchisement and deportation:
Bangladeshis in India should be deported and before that disenfranchised, Mr Advani suggested. "The first step (to exclude infiltrators) is disfranchisement of the Bangladeshis and then their deportation," he added.