AASU to launch stir for border fencing

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Guwahati, Mar 31 (UNI) The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) today announced to start its phase-wise agitations over non-completion of fencing along the Assam border with Bangladesh.

The revised deadline of border fencing along the Assam border in India expired today.

Addressing a news conference here, AASU's advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya said since the government has failed to keep its promises to complete the fencing by March 31, 2008, the AASU would go on pressing the demand for such fencing.

The border fencing is an important clause of the ''historic Assam Accord of 1985 to check infiltration from Bangladesh.'' He claimed that there was rampant influx of Bangladeshis into the state.

A tripartite talk between the AASU, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on May 5, 2005, had fixed December 31, 2006, as deadline for completing the border fencing.

However, when the government failed to meet it, Assam Accord Implementation Minister Bhumidhar Barman had set March 31, 2007, as a revised deadline, without consulting any stake-holder and had even failed to keep it, the AASU leader alleged.

Mr Bhattacharyya pointed that the government again failed to keep the deadline of March 31, 2008, and presented records of the partially completed border fencing work compiled by an AASU team. According to the status report as on March 15 last, approximately 158 km work was incompleted against the total length of 272 km, of which 236 km was sanctioned. The damaged fencing in about 149 km was removed and under construction, leaving wide gaps in the international border through which unabated infiltration continued from Bangladesh, Mr Bhattacharyya said.

He also informed that a visiting AASU team found that flood lights were not installed and floating BOPs (border outposts) were yet to be in place along the river border points.

The AASU demanded the voluntary resignation of Mr Barman and also the removal of incumbent Commissioner of the Assam Accord Implementation department.

Mr Bhattacharyya announced the series of agitation from the next month to pressurise the government to complete the border fencing.

The agitation would culminate in demonstrations at the border points on May 5, which would mark three years of the tripartite meeting with the Prime Minister.

Taking exception of the non-compilation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) yet, the AASU leader alleged that the government's claim that scanning and processing of previous electoral rolls and NRC was under progress, was false. He claimed that the AASU had evidence to prove that work in most districts was yet to start and added that such ''insincerity'' on part of the government would cost the state heavily.

UNI SG PC LPB KN1815

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