IMDT must stay, says Tarun Gogoi

And this mean the state police force was biased? “Biased or whatever,” said the combative chief minister, “but there are facts and figures to prove the harassment in the absence of the IMDT, and even during it.” The Congress has for long been accused of exploiting illegal migrants from Bangladesh as their pet vote-bank. The latest developments on the Act are expected completely polarise the political forces of the state.
There are a number of petitions on the IMDT pending in the Supreme Court. While organisations such as the All Assam Students Union (AASU) that spearheaded the six-year-long Assam agitation in the seventies and eighties have challenged the validity of the Act, the state government, under Gogoi, has filed a petition asking for the act to be kept in place. The previous government, under the Asom Gana Parishad’s Prafulla Mahanta had, however, filed a petition challenging the act.
Passed by Parliament in 1983, the IMDT has been in force only in Assam so far. Asked why states such as West Bengal and Delhi-both of which have complained of large-scale migration of illegal Bangladeshis-did not seem to feel the need for the IMDT to be in place to protect genuine citizens, Gogoi decided to stick to his earlier stand. “Whatever,” he said, “you ask them.”
The IMDT is viewed as the main hurdle in the effective implementation of the Assam Accord signed by Rajiv Gandhi with the AASU and the All Assam Sana Sangram Parishad on August 15, 1985. More than 850 students had died in the agitation against the infiltration of Bangladeshi migrants into Assam. According to Rajen Gohain, state BJP president, the state BJP president, illegal migrants from Bangladesh now dominate more than 26 of the 126 assembly constituencies in the state.

By Kuntil Baruwa (newsfiledelhi@hotmail.com)
Guwahati, May 7, 2003: