Drive to eject Northeast Indian rebel leaders remote-controlling terror in India from Bangladesh has fuelled the inevitable — the issue of repatriating 41 lakh Bangladeshis staying illegally in Assam.
Intelligence agencies have warned of possible United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) strikes on Bangladeshi settlements in Assam following Dhaka's "betrayal" of the outfit's chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and his associates.
Almost simultaneously, the Opposition turned the heat on Tarun Gogoi's government seeking expulsion of illegal Bangladeshis and plugging holes in fencing along the 4,096 km Indo-Bangladesh border.
The government scotched allegations it was going slow on detection and deportation of illegal migrants, especially Bangladeshis.
“The main hurdle is Dhaka's reluctance in recognising these illegal migrants and taking them back in,” said State Revenue Minister Bhumidhar Barman while replying to Asom Gana Parishad’s Alaka Desai Sarma and Ramendra Narayan Kalita.
According to Barman, officials across the state detected 10,597 foreigners between 2001 and October 2009, but only 105 of them were deported.
“Most of the others are missing while a few are spread across 54 lock-ups and prisons across the state,” he added.
The minister admitted the government was yet to set up detention centres for illegal migrants near Bangladesh border.
"Non-availability of land has prevented us from establishing a centre at Mahisashan (in southern Karimganj district) and Mankachar (western Dhubri district), so we have with effect from December 1 this year notified Goalpara (western Assam) District Jail as the temporary detention centre," he said.