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Assam: BTC Muslims demand stop to 'harassment'

November 12, 2012 18:57 IST

Worried about their security in the strife-torn Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District Council in Assam, the religious minority community living in the area has demanded that they must not be subjected to 'harassment' anymore in the name of detection of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

Muslim population living in the BTC -- an autonomous council granted to Bodo tribe people under the amended Sixth Schedule of the Constitution -- is being viewed with suspicion by various quarters in the state and view of 'unabated migration' of Bangladeshis to the area from across the border.

This has created communal tension in the area and the omnipresent tension bred communal riot involving Bodo tribe people and Muslims during July this year in the BTC and some areas of adjoining Dhubri district.

Hundreds of members of Religious Minority Council of the BTC staged a demonstration in Guwahati on Monday demanding fulfillment of their charter of demands that was submitted to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

A spokesman of Religious Minority Council of the BTC, B Ali Ahmed, informed that the council demanded Rs 10 lakh as compensation to each of the members of the community who were killed in the recent communal riot and Rs 7 lakh compensation to each of the injured person from the community.

The council demanded that all the illegal migrants from Bangladesh who had entered Assam after March 25, 1971 should be detected and deported without any condition as per Assam accord.

The accord was signed on August 15, 1985 bringing an end to six years long Assam agitation (1979-1985) against illegal migration from Bangladesh. The signatories of the accord included Government of India, Assam government and the leaders of Assam agitation.

The accord among others promised detection and deportation of Bangladeshi migrants who had come to Assam after March 25, 1971 i.e. after creation of Bangladesh from erstwhile East Pakistan.

The religious minority council further demanded that that the 1951 National Register of Citizens in Assam should be updated on the basis of 1971 voters' list so that it becomes easier for detection of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The council stated that there should not be any further harassment of members of the Muslim community in BTC area in the name of detection of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

Gogoi recently admitted that illegal migration from Bangladesh was still continuing but on the wane and his government was taking steps to stop the infiltration from across the border.

Image: Muslims from Assam's BTC area show placards during a demonstration in Guwahati on Monday

K Anurag in Guwahati