Guwahati, Nov 24 (PTI) Congress leader Debabrata Saikia Saturday blamed the BJP-led governments at the state and the Centre for ignoring the sentiments of the Assamese people which has allegedly led to the rise in youths joining the banned ULFA(I).
Even senior police officers of the state have admitted that there is fresh induction of youths in the ultra outfit, the Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly told reporters here.
Senior leaders of state BJP, including Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and union minister Rajen Gohain were aggravating the situation by making “injudicious remarks”, he alleged further.
“Youths in Assam are frustrated and are joining ULFA(I) as the BJP-led governments at the state and the Centre are ignoring the sentiments of the Assamese people and pushing ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,” he said.
“Sarma is not only denying the reality of the ULFA(I) getting a boost due to BJP’s anti-Assam policies, but is also provoking the outfit by labelling it a dynastic entity,” the Congress leader said.
Earlier this week, Sarma had sought to underplay ULFA(I) ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah’s nephew Munna Baruah joining the proscribed outfit saying that there was nothing new in 150-200 youngsters from the state joining it every year.
He had also taken a swipe at the Congress, saying just like the political party, the aging Paresh Baruah too chose his own blood as his heir to take forward his mission.
Saikia said the two BJP leaders were at the same time defending the Citizenship (Amednment) Bill “by even going to the extent of dismissing the relevance of the Assam Accord”.
This action seem to be a “deliberate attempt” to instigate Assam’s youths, who are already frustrated due to lack of employment and development works, to take up arms against the state, he said.
The proposed amendment to the Citizenship Bill, 1955 seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don’t possess any proper document.
The updation of the National Register of Citizens in the state is being done in accordance with the Assam Accord of 1985.
But regional political parties like the Asom Gana Parishad, which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, feels it will be rendered useless if the Centre passes the Citizenship Bill.
Saikia said that in less than three years, the BJP government had undone the achievements made by the successive Congress governments when it came to containing militancy in the state.
He further alleged that the law and order situation in Assam had sharply deteriorated under the BJP, citing the recent killings at Demow in Sibsagar and Dhola in Tinsukia as well as the rise in the number of abductions, extortions, thefts, lynchings and bomb blasts.
Two persons were killed in a grenade explosion by suspected United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) militants at Demow on November 22, while five Bengali-speaking people were killed by the proscribed outfit in Tinsukia on November 1.
Saikia charged the BJP of not showing any respect for panchayati raj as it had first delayed the rural poll in the state “as much as it could” before being forced to hold it at the intervention of the Gauhati High Court.
The rural polls are slated to be held in the state on December 5 and 9.
The Congress leader claimed that it is clear from media reports as well as ground level public reports that in some areas, the BJP had resorted to measures like temporary abductions and preventing strong opposition candidates from contesting the panchayat poll.
Continuing his criticism of the BJP government in the state, he alleged it faces acute financial problem due to fall in revenue collection by 15-20 per cent post GST and was forced to borrow “unprecedented sums” of money from various sources.
During 2016-17 and 2017-18, the BJP government had borrowed over Rs 15,000 crore – Rs 5649.45 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 9716.3 crore in 2017-18 from sources like NABARD and RBI.
Compared to this the highest loan taken by the previous Congress government in the state was Rs 2338 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 2812 crore in 2015-16, he said.
“This shows that borrowings by the Assam government have nearly doubled since the BJP-led government came to power in the state,” Saikia added.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.