Friday, July 18, 2014

Finally Assam government decides to provide refugee status to Bangladeshi Hindus in Assam

Guwahati: In a major development, Assam government has decided to give refugee status to the Bangladeshi nationals who have crossed the border fearing persecution in that country. This was decided in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The state government will now request the Government of India to frame a policy for granting asylum to the persons who have fled religious persecution and discrimination and taken refuge in India on humanitarian grounds.
This is what BJP was advocating for a long time for the Hindu migrants. Meanwhile, several organizations and political parties have opposed the move of the state government.
“The meeting has decided that the people who have come to India fearing persecution in Bangladeshi in various means will be given refugee status,” state forest and tourism minister Rockybul Hussain told reporters. It may be mentioned that Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi had submitted a memorandum to the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on April 20, 2012, pleading that Bangladeshi citizens who had to flee due to religious persecution and discrimination at the time of partition should not be treated as foreigners on humanitarian grounds.
    The statement assumes significance as Gogoi was cynical about the idea of giving refugee status to the Bengali Hindus as was demanded by the BJP.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been advocating on the issue before the election when he had addressed public rallies in various places of the state.
    Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), prime regional party of the state who led anti-foreigners movement in the state in 1985 criticized the step of the government. All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the apex students’ body of the region also slammed the state government on this. “This is highly condemnable. A foreigner should not be categorized by his religion. We will not let it happen. Every illegal foreigner who have entered the state after 1971 has to leave the state,” AASU advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya said.
   Char Chapori Sahitya Parishad (CCSP), a literary body of the state also reacted on this. CCSP president Hafiz Ahmed said that Assam is not a dumping ground for the foreigners. “We oppose the decision of the state government. This is a ridiculous decision of the state government to divide the foreigners on the basis of religion,” Ahmed said.