Bangladesh land deal sparks protests in Assam
The land exchange accord between India and Bangladesh during the prime minister’s recent visit to Dhaka has triggered protests across the state. If the agreement is ratified in Parliament, Assam will lose 665 acres to Bangladesh.india Updated: Sep 09, 2011 01:36 IST
The land exchange accord between India and Bangladesh during the prime minister’s recent visit to Dhaka has triggered protests across the state. If the agreement is ratified in Parliament, Assam will lose 665 acres to Bangladesh.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who accompanied PM Manmohan Singh for the two-day trip, faced flak back home from opposition parties and student bodies for not opposing the deal.
The disputed 665 acres, lying across Dhubri and Karimganj, districts bordering Bangladesh, are currently in possession of the neighbouring country.
The Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement aims to provide a final settlement to the India-Bangladesh boundary issue which has been hanging fire for a decade. According to the deal, India will get back 111 enclaves and 55 will go to Bangladesh.
The All Assam Students' Union (AASU), which was responsible for a six-year movement against Bangladeshi migrants, called the deal a betrayal for the Assamese people. Gogoi, it said, should learn from West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, whose opposition scuttled the Centre's plans for the Teesta water sharing pact.
"What could be more unfortunate than a prime minister, a parliamentarian from the state, signing an agreement in presence of the state chief minister to cede Assam's land to Bangladesh?" said AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya. "This is inexcusable and the people will never accept it."
The AASU will begin its agitation with a torchlight procession on Friday and hold an executive meeting on September 15 to chalk out a strategy. The students' body has already appealed to all political parties to oppose the ratification of the deal by Parliament.
The BJP has announced that it would oppose the ceding of land. General secretary of state BJP Pradyut Bora said 10 pacts have been signed with Bangladesh but none deals with the presence of over 40 lakh illegal Bangladeshis in Assam. "Why didn't the CM or the PM discuss the influx issue with their Bangladeshi counterparts?"
The Asom Gana Parisad also joined the protest. "We shall not allow an inch of Assam's land to be handed to Bangladesh," said party chief Chandramohan Patowary.