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Sign treaties to deport immigrants, Assam appeals to PM Modi

Political parties and non-political groups in Assam on Sunday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the initiative for signing repatriation treaties with Bangladesh and Nepal in order to deport illegal migrants and solve the state's long pending problem of foreigners.

Guwahati: Political parties and non-political groups in Assam on Sunday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the initiative for signing repatriation treaties with Bangladesh and Nepal in order to deport illegal migrants and solve the state's long pending problem of foreigners.

The appeal was made after a convention here on Sunday, where the groups pledged their support for update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) 1951 in Assam.

The process for update of the NRC, with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date has begun in the state following a Supreme Court order in December.

"There is the need for a repatriation treaty with Bangladesh and Nepal to deport illegal migrants to be identified through the NRC update. Hence we urge the Centre to sign repatriation treaties with our neighbouring countries to solve the foreigner problem in our state.

"It has been a political issue in Assam since 1936 but if the NRC is updated irrespective of religion and the illegal migrants are deported after signing of the repatriation treat, this problem will be solved," said one of the resolutions.

Educationist Udayaditya Bharali said updating the NRC had been a decades-old demand by various quarters.

Those who attended the convention said the indigenous people of the state have been facing serious identity crisis due to unabated infiltration from Bangladesh.

The appeal for repatriation comes days after India ratified the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh and ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh next month.

Akhil Gogoi, leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a pressure group in Assam, said all illegal migrants who entered Assam after March 24, 1971 "must be deported, irrespective of their religion".

"If the BJP wants to protect the Hindu Bangladeshis, why don't they take them to Gujarat, Maharastra or Delhi?" he said.

The convention also made a public appeal for a boycott of all foreigners who migrated to the state after March 24, 1971.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Anjan Dutta said although many people blamed the Congress for the delay in updating the NRC, it was then prime minister Manmohan Singh who had held tripartite talks on May 5, 2005 where March 24, 1971 was accepted as the cut-off date for the NRC update.