Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the NDA government will “completely seal” the Indo-Bangladesh border within a reasonable time frame to stop illegal immigration from Bangladesh even as he accused Congress of having failed to check intrusion.
Addressing a series of election rallies in Assam, he also took a dig at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for accusing BJP of fomenting riots in Assam and said it was during the Congress rule that maximum number of riots took place, be it the Nellie killings in Assam in 1983 or the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984.
“The Congress-led governments ignored illegal immigration for years and they did not take any effective step against it. We need a state government in Assam which cooperates with us in curbing illegal immigration. Assam has only 263 kms of border with Bangladesh. It will be sealed with the active cooperation of the state government.
“Intruders have been continuously entering India since the day Bangladesh was created. Bangladeshi intruders are coming to India through the Indo-Bangladesh border. What is the reason, why didn’t you (Congress) stop them? Why didn’t you completely seal the Indo-Bangladesh border?” he asked at an election rally in Duliajan.
“We just need some time and we will seal Indo-Bangladesh border completely so that no Bangladeshi intruder can come in,” he said.
Besides Duliajan, Mr Singh addressed rallies in Mahmora, Thowra and Moran in Assam which goes to polls in two phases on April 4 and 11.
“We would also curb the inflow of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) into the country through international borders. FICN is not only a threat to internal security but it also weakens India’s economy,” he said.
Mr Singh said the NDA government wants peace and security in Assam and other north-eastern states. “The security scenario has greatly improved in the Northeast after the Modi government assumed office with the level of violence reducing to lowest in the past 18 years,” he said.
Making an appeal to extremist groups and insurgents, Singh said that they should abjure violence as the government was ready for talks. “The government will not tolerate killing of innocent and poor people. We will take strong action against extremists who indulge in violence,” he said.
“As Union Home Minister, I want to send a message to all militants to give up the path of violence and arms. If they have any problem, they must end violence and talk to us. We are prepared to hold talks and settle all issues only if there is no violence and killing of innocent people,” he said.
Taking a dig at Congress, Mr Singh said, “Rahul Gandhi says if BJP comes to power there will be riots in Assam. Rahulji has forgotten that the maximum number of riots occurred during the Congress-led regimes.”
“I want to ask when large number of people were killed at Nellie in Assam in 1983, which party was in power? In 1984 anti-Sikh riots, many innocent people were killed and then who was in power? The Congress party is befooling the voters with such statements. They should look into their conscience before making such baseless allegations,” he said.
He said during the last two years of BJP rule at the Centre, there has been no allegation of corruption and the party has “zero-tolerance towards corruption”.
Referring to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi as “a senior citizen whom I respect and will not like to comment on”, the Union Home Minister said, “Congress has ruined the state during the last 15 years of its rule with the problems of poverty, unemployment, power, road connectivity still persisting.”
At the time of Independence, Assam was among the top five prosperous states in the country but it had become one of the poorest states now, he said.
“More than one crore people remain below the poverty line with little access to education or health facilities,” he said.
Highlighting the initiatives taken by the NDA government to develop Assam and north-eastern states, Mr Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has increased budgetary allocation to Rs. 33,000 crore for the development of the Northeast.
“The government wants to connect all north-eastern states by providing rail connectivity, road connectivity, Internet connectivity and even working towards providing connectivity through waterways. The Centre has already identified 17 waterways for the Northeast which would be developed for smooth transportation of people and goods,” Mr Singh said.
Painting a grim picture of tea plantation workers in Assam, Singh said if Congress had fully implemented the Plantation Labour Act, 1951, the plantation labourers’ life would have been much better.
“I want to ask the Chief Minister of Assam why did he not implement the Plantation Labour Act even after ruling the state for many years. Who was stopping him? The Congress party promised four kattha land to landless tea plantation labourers in Assam in 2011 but nobody got the land.
“People from all over the world come to see tea gardens but are shocked by the deplorable condition of workers. Let our party come to power in the state and we will not leave any stone unturned in improving their condition,” he said, asking people to vote and make the party win with an absolute majority.