Blaming large-scale immigration from Bangladesh for the clashes in lower Assam, Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] leader L K Advani [ Images ] on Tuesday said the government's "inaction" in dealing with the problem of infiltrators has resulted in indigenous communities feeling threatened.
"Today's situation has arisen firstly because of criminal delay in dealing with the situation when the symptoms were already there. But introspection must lead to the identification of the root cause, which is the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh, of which serious note has been taken even by the Supreme Court," Advani told reporters.
The BJP leader, who visited trouble-torn Kokrajhar district on Monday, said the recent events in Assam were a 'blot' on the entire country.
"I visited Kokrajhar on Monday. I can say it is very distressing when such a large number of people are rendered homeless," he said.
Making a comparison with the situation in Jammu & Kashmir [ Images ], Advani hoped that no other community is forced to turn refugee in their own country like Kashmiri Pandits, who were victims of terrorism.
He said the current conflict cannot be termed merely as a communal or ethnic conflict.
"I don't attribute this issue to any communal or ethnic factor alone. They contribute in their own way. But the basic issue is the feeling that indigenous Assamese people have about being squeezed out and they are being deprived of rightful ownership of land by illegal immigration," he said.
He accused the Centre and Assam government of not taking any action to detect and deport illegal immigrants, even seven years after the Supreme Court had stuck down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act in July, 2005.
"I would like the prime minister, the Congress president and the Assam government to introspect on how this situation arose," he said.
Advani said the government's inaction in dealing with the problem of infiltrators had resulted in the indigenous communities feeling threatened.
"Indigenous communities are losing control of their land while illegal Bangladeshi immigrants have embarked on a large-scale land grab policy," Advani observed.
"This has also given rise to ethnic problems faced by the Bodos. They feel threatened that they would be marginalised in their own region and in their own lands," he said.
Advani said the problem of immigration is also leading to change in demography in the state.
He said the people of Assam have a feeling that they would be squeezed out and 'disempowered'.
"I hold that the combined effect of these three problems (of land, ethnicity and change in demography) that has emanated from this illegal infiltration is a serious threat to the unity, integrity and security of India [ Images ]," he said.