Bangladesh's demur stalled border fencing work: Assam

Bangladesh's objection stalled border fencing work: Assam government

Border sealing was one of the promises in the Assam Accord of 1985, which was signed following the 6-yr-long anti-foreigners movement (1979-1985)

Representative image/Credit: PTI File Photo

Objection by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) stalled work to fence 4.35-km stretch of India-Bangladesh border in south Assam, which allegedly is currently used by migrants from the neighbouring country to illegally infiltrate into the state.

Assam government on Monday told the state Assembly that 98.35% borders that the state shares with Bangladesh have been fenced while 1.65% in south Assam's Karimganj district could not yet be fenced due to objections by BGB. Assam shares 262-km of the 4,049-km-long border with Bangladesh but a vast tract remained unfenced for long, aiding the illegal migrants, militants and cross border smugglers of cattle and drugs. West Bengal, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram shares rest of the borders with Bangladesh.

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There has been a demand for "complete sealing" of the border as Assam faced the problem of "illegal migration" since the Independence and particularly after the birth of Bangladesh in 1971. Border sealing was also one of the promises in the Assam Accord of 1985, which was signed following the six-year-long anti-foreigners movement (1979-1985).

The issue of border fencing and illegal migration from Bangladesh figures prominently in politics in Assam, particularly before the elections.

The BJP-led coalition government, before coming to power in 2016 had promised that the border with Bangladesh would be completely sealed. But the government continues to face the criticism that it failed to fulfill the promise even in 2020. The Opposition parties are also likely to pick this issue again to attack BJP in the run-up to the next Assembly elections slated in April-May.

"However, the 46th high level empowered committee meeting held on July 30, 2019, Rs. 4.77 crore was sanctioned for technological solution for this stretch of the border and permission for preparation of draft detailed project report for the deployment of technological solution was granted to M/S Bharat Electronics Limited," Assam parliamentary affairs minister, Chandra Mohan Patowary said in his written replies to Abdur Rashid Mandal, an MLA belonging to the opposition All India United Democratic Front, in the state Assembly on Monday.

Replying to questions by AGP MLA, Ramendra Narayan Kalita, Patowary said till July 31 this year, a total of 1,34, 810 persons had been identified as foreigners (who had illegally migrated into Assam from Bangladesh) and 29, 959 were sent back till November this year.

A total of 4, 34,654 cases related to "illegal migrants" remained pending in 100 foreigner tribunals till July this year, Patowary said.