Himanta, Mahanta, Gogoi in verbal duel over cut off year

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855 martyrs did not sacrifice their lives to fix 1971 as a cut–off year: Assam Health Minister 

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Feb 19: Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta on Tuesday came down heavily on former chief minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi for his comment on cut-off-date for detection and deportation of foreign nationals from Assam.

While addressing a press conference here on Monday, Gogoi said that the Assam Accord would be signed during the regime of former premier Indira Gandhi had the leaders of all Assam Students union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) agreed to her to sign an accord. “Had they signed during the regime of Indira Gandhi, the life of 855 martyrs could have been saved,” Gogoi said.

Slamming Gogoi Sarma said, “His (Tarun Gogoi) statement keeps on changing every day. The 855 martyrs did not sacrifice their lives to fix 1971 as a cut–off year to detect and deport illegal migrants from the state,” he said.

Sarma also came down heavily on All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) over the cut-off year and said, “AASU is yet to answer why it had agreed 1971 as cut-off year and signed the Assam Accord to fix the year.”

“The rapid change in the demography of Kerala, West Bengal and Assam somehow helped the fundamentalists. If it continues then people of Assam will face a severe consequence very soon.”

Sarma informed that the state government has directed the state police to remain alert on Rohingya Muslim influx issue. “A number of Rohingya Muslim people have been spotted recently. A fundamentalist group has given refugee to the Rohingya Muslims in Assam,” Sarma said. He further appealed the people of the state to inform the police immediately if they notice any doubtful person.


Congress responsible for death of 855 martyrs: Mahanta

Meanwhile, former chief minister and senior Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, while lambasting Gogoi, said Congress was responsible for the death of 855 martyrs during Assam Agitation 1979-85.

“The Congress is responsible for the deaths of the 855 Martyrs during Assam Agitation. This includes Tarun Gogoi and other party leaders as well. Their government never wanted the agitation to end. They ruled undemocratic procedures. We will never forget those days,” Mahanta told reporters here Tuesday.

Slamming Gogoi for making “incorrect” statements on Assam Accord of 1985, the AGP leader further added, ” Tarun Gogoi’s statements on Assam Accord are not based on facts. So he should refrain from making any controversial comments inflicting any breach of peace in the state,”

The historic Assam Movement (1979-1985) led under the leadership of All Assam Students Union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) officially ended on 15th August 1985 after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and leaders of Assam movement.

During this period around 855 persons attained martyrdom in the hope of an “Infiltration Free Assam”.

Mahanta while talking about the much-debated 1971 as but-off issue said, “The 1971 cut-off date was fixed after pressure from various political parties including the former prime minister Indira Gandhi,”

In 1985, Parliament inserted Section 6A in the citizenship act, prescribing March 25th, 1971 as the cut-off date for detection and deportation of foreigners in Assam. For other states, the year is 1951.

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