India has to take up the issue with Dhaka for us to help: Bangla MPs


The delegation visiting Assam is to meet CM Tarun Gogoi on Sunday where the issue is likely to figure in details

Ratnadip Choudhury 

Photo: Ujjal Deb

At a time when Assam is witnessing a renewed mass movement against illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh in the aftermath of the July-August ethnic violence in lower Assam, a Parliamentary delegation from Bangladesh visiting Assam on Saturday 1 December claimed that India is yet to take up the issue of ‘illegal migrants from Bangladesh ‘strongly’ with Dhaka.

The Bangladeshi Parliamentarians further assured that if India takes up the matter ‘proactively in its own interest,’ then Dhaka will render support since Bangladesh Parliament has no tolerance for illegal migration.

In the wake of the ethnic violence between the Bodo tribals and Muslim settlers who are accused to be Bangladeshis, in which nearly 100 people died and over five lakh people were displaced, Assam has seen an resurgence of the anti-foreigner movement. The state government had recently released a white paper on the status of illegal migrants in Assam and both the state government and Centre have maintained that the issue of illegal migrant from Bangladesh infiltrating into eastern India, particularly in Assam, has been taken up with Bangladesh.

“As far as we know, India is yet to take up the matter with Dhaka in details since it has never come up in our Parliament for discussion. On principle, Bangladesh does not tolerate any illegal migration. We are ourselves facing the issue of migration of the Rohingya community from Myanmar, and have been very strict on them. So, if India takes up the issue of illegal migration, our government will render all possible help,” said senior Awami League MP from Bangladesh Tofail Ahmed who is leading a 12 member Parliamentary delegation from Bangladesh which is touring India this week on the invite of FICCI for India-Bangladesh Parliamentary Dialogue. The delegation arrived in Guwahati on Saturday.

The delegation further informed that they are trying to build up better dialogue on contentious issues like the ratification of the land swap deal that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had signed with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka. While Bangladesh Parliament has already ratified it, Indian Parliament is yet to do it. The other issues are the Teesta water sharing deal which failed last year after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose party Trinamool Congress was then a major ally of the ruling UPA at Centre. The delegation is to meet Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday 2 December where the issue of illegal migrants is likely to figure in details, Assam government sources added.

The delegation also expressed concerns over the issue of Tipaimukh Dam that is witnessing sharp opposition in Bangladesh.

Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.