Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Refugee status for Bengali Hindus in Assam

Switching from his earlier stand, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has stated that the ruling Congress will seek refugee status for the displaced Bengali Hindus, who fled East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) fearing persecution. Gogoi, while talking to media persons in Guwahati, admitted that he was wrong in not favouring refugee status for the persecuted Bengali Hindus much earlier.

“I am going to take up the issue with the Government of India that the people who fled East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) fearing for their lives and took shelter in India should be given refugee status on humanitarian ground,” Gogoi said. He also stated that he will include it in the Congress election manifesto for the ensuing Assembly elections.

The statement assumes significance as Gogoi was cynical about the idea of giving refuge status to the Bengali Hindus as was demanded by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Exuding confidence about returning to power for the third consecutive term, the Chief Minister further claimed that the Congress would form the government on its own though it will continue to maintain its alliance with Bodoland People’s Front (BPF).

“We will win more seats than last time and form the government alone. Of course, we will keep ally BPF with us as Congress is not a party of betrayers,” Gogoi said. He also flayed the opposition parties, especially the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party, for failing to work with any fixed agenda.

“When they were in power, they hardly bothered about the issues of the people of the State, be it the foreigners’ issue or the problem of flood and soil erosion. The days when NDA and the AGP ruled at the Centre and the State respectively would go down as the darkest days for Assam,” Gogoi said.

On the alliance of AGP, Left parties and others, Gogoi said that the alliance the opposition is working on lacks common ideology or agenda and it was merely formed to gain electoral success.

He added that the Congress would go to polls with the agenda of development.

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