Saturday, 22 November 2008

Lack of political will in the fencing of the Indo-Bangla border, says Retd. General SK Sinha

The northeastern part of India is turning into a deadly social and economic cocktail threatening to break out into a communal inferno.

Lieutenant General (Retd.) Srinivas Kumar Sinha and Rebati Mohan Sinha, Mumbai

India and Bangladesh are part of Indian subcontinent. In 1971 Bangladesh became an independent country with the strong political as well as military support from India; but since then there have been several issues of dispute and it is increasing day by day and there is no end to it and hardly any Indian citizen knows about the problems faced by N.E. people.

Today, Bangladesh has become home for Islamic terrorist outfits and North-East India’s separatist elements like Ulfa and many terrorist outfits. The demographic challenge from Bangladesh is more serious and greater threat to our National Security. And with this background, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parshad organized a one day seminar on 16th November 2008, to throw a light on Indo-Bangla relationship before and after 1971.

I was quite fortunate enough to be invited in such a national seminar and also lucky enough to be introduced to the former Ambassador of Nepal, Governor of Assam and Jammu & Kashmir, Lt. General SK. Sinha PVSM, Former Director General, BSF Shri E.Ram Mohan, Shri Jaideep Saikia, South East Asia Security Expert, Shri Aravind Inamdar, former Director General of Police, Maharashtra.

I must give a brief on ABVP. Founded in 1948, and registered in 1949 in Delhi. It is a cadre based mass student organization with 1.5 million primary members with a motto of “Knowledge, Character & Unity”. And the National Reconstruction is the life mission of ABVP. They believe that this type of seminar would carefully retrospect the relations and put forth the action plans. On December 17th 2008, ABVP of about 50,000 student body will be organizing a “dharna” at Siliguri (WB) called the ‘chicken neck’ to make that area ‘infiltrator free zone’.

Retd. General SK Sinha inaugurated the 1st session with a key note address: He had made known to the audience that during World War II, as a young Army officer he was in the villages of upper Assam. And in1971 war also, he was in Assam to fight the Pakistan Army.

In 1997 when IK Gujral was Prime Minister, one day he received a phone call from him, saying “Assam is burning, can you come to Delhi tomorrow?’’ He went next day and met PM with Congress (I) treasurer Mr. Sitaram Kesri, who was from Bihar.

The PM told him that for the national interest he should take up the challenging job of Governorship of Assam. He was in Assam for five long years up to 2002, and then he shifted to Jammu& Kashmir as Governor for another five years.

During his tenure as constitutional head of the state, he felt at that time, the centre had done nothing for the state. There were power shortages, crop damage due to flood, no Hydel project. He gave two examples, why there was no refinery at the state? Why should they carry a pipe line from Digboi to Barauni at Bihar?

Rs.2500 crores tea industry was remote controlled by Marwaries from Calcutta. Because of AASU agitation headed by Shri Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the centre had done something i.e. tea auctioning done at Guwahati, refinery has come up in Assam.

As per the Assam accord, the entire border stretching from Meghalaya to Tripura would have been fenced by barbed wire; but it is yet not been completed because of lack of political will, and as a Governor of J&K he could got it completed in terrain about 700 kms of barbed wire within 1 ½ yrs.

He talked about influx of Muslim population in upper Assam from Maimonsingh district of Bangladesh with the help of Muslim Ministers from centre. People from other states used to tell these Ministers, ‘grow more Muslim, not food’. General told to the audience that once Chief Minister of Assam Mr. Hiteshwar Saikia told to the press in1992 that there were 3 millions of illegal migrations in Assam, immediately he had to withdraw it next day at the behest of his high command at Delhi and declared that there was no illegal migration.

In 2004, the Union Minister of State for Home, Sri Jaswal told the press that there were 1.2 crore illegal migration from Bangladesh in India, the next day Prime Minister, Sri Manmohan Singh called the press and told that the figures given by his Minister was based on hearsay, not on actual. Sri Jaswal later on same day sang the song on his master`s tune.

As we know of the recently concluded National Games at Guwahati, it came in news paper that the Govt. headed by Sri Tarun Gogoi paid crores of rupees to Ulfa to not to disturb the National Games. Now, one question may come up in our minds, where did the money come from? Was it drawn from the treasury or from Delhi? Again we read in news papers in Mumbai after bomb blast, the Chief Minister of the state told the press “We got the information on terrorist attack well in advance; but there was no inter departmental coordination to face the attack.” What could we say about this Govt. headed by him?

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