Illegal immigration from Bangladesh still on but less: Gogoi



New Delhi: Illegal immigration to Assam from across the border continues to take place even though the number is less, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Saturday.

Addressing a 'Meet the Press' programme at the Press Club of India, Gogoi said the trend of migration from neighbouring Bangladesh was on decline since 1991.

"I do not deny. Illegal immigration is on but decline. Yes, it is not stopped but number of very less," he said responding to a question on reports of continuous influx.

Gogoi said his government was "neither over-playing nor down-playing" the issue of migration from Bangladesh but wanted to put the factual position in public domain.

"I am also against foreigners. But in the name of foreigner, no genuine Indian should be harassed," he said.

Referring to the insurgency problem, the Chief Minister said Assam has the highest number of insurgent groups -- 12 and almost all of them have come for peace talks with the government.

"Except a small faction of ULFA, all groups are in talks with the government," he said.

Claiming that the law and order situation in his state was much better than a decade ago, Gogoi said there were 412 civilians were killed in 2000 while the number has come down to 29 in 2011 and in 2012 till date only 30 civilians became the victims of different violence.

"We dealt firmly against those who indulge in violence. But we also keep our door open for peace talks," he said.

Asked about recent clashes between Bodos and immigrant Muslims, the Chief Minister said 97 people were killed in the violence while 4.84 lakh people were displaced. However, so far 4.3 lakh people were rehabilitated in their respective villages.

Gogoi said Assam was one of the fastest growing states in the country and its Gross State Domestic Product was the second highest.

When asked about his view on the Naga peace talks, Gogoi said he was fully supported the Naga peace process as it would help in bringing peace in the entire Northeastern region to a great extent.

The Chief Minister also favoured better connectivity with neighbouring Bangladesh as it would bring economic opportunity to the people of the Northeast.

PTI