New Delhi: With violence erupting again in Assam, government has kept the Army on alert to deal with any situation, as opposition on Wednesday slammed it in Parliament accusing it of failing to control the riots.
The issue of month-long violence in Assam, that has claimed 74 lives, was taken up for discussion in both Houses of Parliament on the first day of the Monsoon Session.
In the Lok Sabha, government business was suspended to take up the issue through an Adjournment Motion moved by BJP leader L K Advani, which was negatived by a voice vote after a five-hour debate.
Replying to the Motion, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde gave details of the violent incidents, saying it started after an attack by KLO terrorists in which two Muslims were killed.
Enlisting the steps taken by the Centre and the state government, he said Army has been kept on alert. "If the situation arises, I have kept the Army on alert," he said, making it clear that the government will not hesitate in taking any necessary action.
"Army should go and bring results in areas which are actually affected," Shinde said, in his first reply as Home Minister after being given the crucial portfolio last week.
He also informed the Lok Sabha that an Additional Director of the CBI will visit Guwahati tomorrow following a request from Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to investigate the cases of Assam violence. The CBI official will go along with Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the Home Ministry.
"Government`s mind is very clear. Government`s heart is very clear and we will like a peaceful situation," he said.
Advani, who initiated the debate saying it was the Centre`s direct failure that the situation in Assam had reached such a pass, expressed dissatisfaction with Shinde`s reply.
The Rajya Sabha witnessed a war of words between ruling
Congress and Opposition members when it took up a discussion on Assam violence.
Balbir Punj (BJP), who initiated the discussion, demanded that infiltrators from Bangladesh should be declared "stateless persons, disfranchised and debarred from owning properties in the state", a remark which drew sharp criticism from the treasury benches.
In the Lok Sabha, Shinde said a comprehensive security plan has been chalked out to provide fool proof security to the affected population.
"104 fixed police pickets have been proposed in the vulnerable villages of which 99 have been established. They have been given responsibility of ensuring security for the affected villages," he said.
Shinde said the present status of relief and rehabilitation measures indicates that during the peak time 340 relief camps were established with over 4.8 lakh inmates.
"As on August 6, as many as 245 relief camps with approximately 3.64 lakh persons were running. 95 relief camps have been closed and over 1.15 lakh persons have returned to their villages," he said.
Shinde said leaders from both Bodo and non-Bodo communities have been asked to intervene to restore normalcy.
"The central government is providing all possible assistance to the government of Assam," he said.
In the Rajya Sabha, responding to charge that Congress allowed illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Bhubaneswar Kalita (Cong) said he was "pained" to listen to what Punj spoke.
"What message do you want to send? To divide people or unite people? To divide people in distress in terms of religion should not be our approach. We should help the state administration, the people to promote peace. That should be the aim of every political party," he said.
Opposition members questioned Congress as to why illegal
immigrants from Bangladesh could not be identified and sent back even as then Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi had promised it while signing the Assam Accord in 1985.
Kalita also attacked the AGP asking why that party`s government did not implement provisions of the accord for detection, deletion and deportation of illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh when it was in power in the state.
Condemning the clashes, Veer Singh (BSP) criticised the Centre for not responding swiftly to the request of the Assam Chief Minister to send forces to the state on time.
Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP) blamed non-implementation of the Assam Accord signed in 1985 for the tension in the state and sought a "sincere" approach from the government based on "reality" to ensure long-term peace in the region.
Biswajit Daimary (Bodoland Peoples Front) alleged that foreign forces were creating problems in Assam and North East.
Tariq Anwar (NCP), V Maitreyan (AIADMK), Kumar Deepak Das (AGP) and Tarun Vijay (BJP) referred to unchecked infiltration of Bangladeshis into India and asked the Centre to take stern action.
The Lok Sabha also witnessed some heated moments with CPI-M member Basudeb Acharia describing Assam violence a "monumental failure of the Centre and the state government" as the authorities failed to take action despite early warnings.
Lalu Prasad (RJD) alleged that as Home Minister Advani helped fan hatred against certain communities and BJP was now misleading tribals in Assam.
Ananth Geete (Shiv Sena) said Prasad`s remarks should not be taken seriously as he was desperately trying to become a minister in UPA-II though UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has so far ignored his efforts.
S Bwiswamuthiary (Bodoland Peoples` Front) objected to the
term ethnic violence and contended that the unrest in the region was due to "blatant kind of aggression by illegal hostile Bangladeshi immigrants".
He pointed out that earlier the tribal belts and blocks in Assam were restricted for outsiders.
The member said the population of the Bodoland Territorial Area District was 30 lakh out of which indigenous people comprised 60 per cent and the rest were non-Bodo communities.
Bwiswamuthiary said that if the Centre did not check illegal migration from Bangladesh, there would soon be a Bangladesh-occupied Assam on the lines of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Saugata Roy (Trinamool) opposed the adjournment motion moved by Advani accusing him of constantly harping on the problem of illegal immigration and not referring to the people who have been uprooted from their home and hearth.
"The tone and tenor of Advani`s speech will lead to further provocation of violence," he said urging the House to "reject lock, stock and barrel" the Adjournment Motion.
Roy, who is Minister of State, took a swipe at Advani saying that he was losing the sharpness he had displayed during his tenure as Home Minister in the NDA regime.
The Trinamool leader contended that perhaps the BJP distancing itself from Advani had made him stray off from his line of thought.
Roy, whose party is at loggerheads with senior UPA constituent Congress, said it was unfortunate that violence had broken out in Assam after the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He said the speeches of the BJP members will disturb communal harmony and advised that issues that disturb the fabric of communal harmony should not be raised.