Assam CM Tarun Gogoi clarifies on making visa-free entry of Bangladeshis public

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Guwahati, June 23: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday said he has not compromised with 'national security' by divulging the Centre's proposal to grant visa-free entry to Bangladeshi citizens below 18 years and above 65 years into India.

The Chief Minister said in a press statement that he had made it public not to gain political mileage but to put matters straight before the people.

Gogoi said he could not maintain stoic silence on such a sensitive issue and that he would be failing in his duty if he did not let the people of the state know about it.

"The people of the state have the right to know about such a sensitive issue. I would be failing in my duty if I do not place the matter before them," he said, adding, some people were bent on diluting the issue for vested interests.

"State BJP president and Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal may label my disclosure as a political gimmick. What I have disclosed is based on record. Why such a sensitive issue concerning the people of Assam be put under a veil of secrecy? The BJP has taken a complete U- turn on the influx issue," he said.

Reacting to media reports, the Chief Minister said Assam Government strongly opposed the proposal on the ground that illegal migration from Bangladesh was a very sensitive issue for Assam and other northeastern States and that visa- free entry would have repercussions in terms of negative public reactions.

The proposal for visa-free entry was made during an inter-ministerial meeting of the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on June 11 last.

PTI

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