GUWAHATI, March 10 - Signatory to the historic Assam Accord, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta today said that he would continue to oppose the Centre’s notification to grant stay to non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan in India in his capacity as the chief advisor to the Asom Andolan Sangrami Mancha.
Mahanta’s comment brings baffling ramifications as his party – Asom Gana Parishad – has entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is ruling at the Centre.
In fact, it was Mahanta who is believed to have played a key role in sealing the much-talked-about alliance between the AGP and the BJP before the ensuing Assembly polls in the State.
The Centre had decided, on humanitarian considerations, to exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities (non-Muslims) who had entered India on or before December 31, 2014, from the relevant provisions of rules and order made under the Passport (Entry to India) Act, 1920, and the Foreigners Act, 1946, in respect of their entry and stay in India without such documents or after the expiry of those documents, as the case may be.
It had accordingly issued two relevant notifications on September 7 following which the Mancha, consisting of Assam agitation veterans, was formed with Mahanta as the chief advisor.
The Mancha, headed by Mahanta had then slammed the Narendra Modi government for violating the Assam Accord, which stipulates that illegal migrants who had entered Assam after midnight of March 24, 1971, shall be detected and deported.
Asked about his contradictory stand, the two-time former chief minister told mediapersons, “My stand has nothing to do with that of my party. In my capacity as chief advisor to the Mancha, I am saying that the fight to ensure that the Assam Accord gets implemented in its letter and spirit, will continue. The matter is in the Supreme Court and our (Mancha) stand has not changed.”
Mahanta further said, “The Mancha is a non-political forum and we have nothing to comment on the political scenario. We want the interest of the indigenous people to be safeguarded.”