Dated, London, the 28th June 2013
Mr. Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam
Honourable Chief Minister,
We agree with the President of India that the Assam Accord should be revisited. The Assam Accord is now outdated as events have overtaken it. We all feel betrayed as the required actions were not taken on time by the newly formed AGP Government in 1985. We consider the Assam Accord a failure. The seeds of its failure were already in the document, namely, (a) that the IMDT Act (which was struck down by the Supreme Court as illegal) was internalised, (b) that no consideration was given to the resources required for a robust administrative machinery to detect and deport, (c) that there was no treaty or agreement with the Government of Bangladesh. The High Commissioner of Bangladesh, whom we have met personally, has confirmed that no such agreements exist between India and Bangladesh.
The policy of detection and deportation is no longer feasible because human rights will protect those who entered Assam some 40 or 30 or even 20 years back. We think that the policy now should be (a) prevention of further infiltration and (b) assimilation of the Bangladeshis into the mainstream society. On prevention, all the promised policies in the Accord on building fencing, establishing adequate number of check posts, patrols by security force on the riverine routes must be implemented at war footing. These policies have not been implemented in more than a quarter of a century; and as a result the border still remains porous. On assimilation, as a first step, we should declare amnesty to all illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who have lived in Assam for the last 25 years or more. They will be Indian citizens. Those who have lived in Assam for less than 25 years, work permits should be issued and they will remain Bangladeshi citizens, and would not have voting rights. An aggressive attitude to the Bangladeshis will push them towards seeking protection from the Jihadi forces. This will be a dangerous situation.
A new danger to Assam is the quiet aspiration of Bangladesh to make Assam a part of North East Economic Zone with Bangladesh. The Prime Minister of India during his visit to Bangladesh in September 2011 received a plan of the proposed economic zone where there will free movement of labour without any passport control.
Given all these issues, we need cooperation of the Government of Bangladesh. We suggest that the Government of Assam invites the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to visit Assam informally for a better understanding of the issues.
Dr. Jitendralal Borkakoti
Chairman, Assam Forum GB
We discuss the economic, social, political and cultural issues of Assam and submit suggested solutions and raise awareness among the Assamese community and the wider population of the UK of the ongoing concerns in Assam. We hold an annual conference on the burning issues of Assam, and also to organise seminars on urgent issues. We invite expert opinions on specific topics of Assam and facilitate the global Assamese diaspora to have a united voice on specific issues.