Allaying fears of threat to identity of indigenous and ethnic people in Assam, chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said such perceptions were exaggerated.
“No one can take away your identity. The threat to loss of identity is there, but not to the extent imagined. While no one is denying illegal immigration from Bangladesh, it is on the decline,” he said.
For years, Bodos and many other ethnic communities in Assam have been raising the issue of threat to their identity from illegal and unabated entry of Bangladeshi migrants.
Gogoi said there had been a “wrong labelling” of people with certain features and language as foreigners. “They are eyed with much suspicion in the state.”
“How can people who came ages ago, adopted your language and culture be termed foreigners?” he asked.
Gogoi accused local elements of colluding with a foreign power to fan the violence. “Without local connections and support, it would not have been possible for the foreign power to operate the way it did in Assam,” he said.
Referring to reports of dissension within the state Congress and the subsequent resignation of a senior minister, Gogoi said, “In politics, no one is indispensable.”
On the entry of his son Gaurab into politics causing heartburn among his colleagues, he said, “I don’t see any
heartburn, competition will always be there, it should be welcomed.”