New Delhi, Aug.9: The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday criticized the UPA-II Government over its inaction in dealing with the ethnic clashes in Assam, and accused it of playing ‘vote bank politics’ in that northeastern state.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley lashed out at the government on the second day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
“It is that pursuit of the alternative vote bank, which is really responsible as the root cause of the problem today. And, for that, you wanted a change in democracy. You had an open border, people who come and settle down, and once people came and settle down, there was no way of pushing them back,” charged Jaitley.
He urged the government to get to the bottom of the cause for the violent riots and ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.
“I would, therefore, in his response, urge the honourable Home Minister (Sushil Kumar Shinde), rather than consider it as a only law and order problem, that so many people have been uprooted, so many people have been arrested, so many people have been sent back, relief is being provided to so many people, that of course is the least that the government must do. The state government had completely failed, but please go into the root cause of why this problem is taking place, and if this problem gets repeated. The consequence is not only on the state of Assam, on India as a nation, our national identity, our personality, even our geography are going to be severe,” said Jaitley.
Defending the Congress party and the government, Shinde requested political parties not to indulge in a blame game.
“It is not about just one party, but the country belongs to all. But when such questions arise, I believe that it is wrong to talk about Hindus and Muslims. I feel that this can pose as a major threat to the country’s unity,” said Shinde
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh maintained an even temperament during the debate on Assam, and appealed to lawmakers to avoid a repetitive debate on one issue, as there were other important issues to discuss.
“I request the honourable house not to have discussions on this subject. It is a small incident, which is being blown out of proportion. It is not good for the moral of the armed forces. I think this matter is being blown out of proportion,” said Singh.
The violence sparked on July 20 when unidentified men killed four youths in the district, police and district officials said. In retaliation, armed Bodos attacked Muslims, suspecting them of being behind the killings.
Ringed by China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan, India’s northeast is home to more than 200 ethnic and tribal groups and has been rocked by separatist revolts since India’s independence from Britain in 1947.
In recent years, Hindu and Christian tribes have vented strong anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment against Bangladeshi settlers.
According to media reports, over 30 bills have been listed for discussion in the month-long session – these include bills on banking laws and protection of whistleblowers. (ANI)