Guwahati, Mar 1 (UNI) The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) today toed the BJP line by maintaining that Hindu Bangladeshis were refugees.
In a major change in policy, AGP gave a new twist to the issue which had returned to occupy centre-stage in state politics.
The AGP, in a press statement, expressed concern over the condition of the Hindu refugees and demanded proper rehabilitation as well as land pattas for them.
All Assam Student Union (AASU) had termed all infiltrators from Bangladesh, irrespective of religion, as foreigners while the BJP had been maintaining that Hindu Bangladeshis were refugees and it was ready to accept them.
The party pointed out that during Partition, the percentage of Hindus in Bangladesh was 29 per cent which had now become nine per cent.
''This means that 20 per cent have come to India. We demand that India should take up the matter with Bangladesh at the SAARC,'' according to the statement.
This departure of stand was not taken kindly by the AASU, which made it clear that, according to them, anyone who had entered Asom after 1971 would be a foreigner, irrespective of religion and language.
''We do not know any other thing. We only know Assam Accord and that should be followed,'' said AASU advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also took a dig at the BJP and the AGP today and alleged that they were playing communal politics.
''Why this communalisation by BJP and AGP? For me, all foreigners are foreigners. There is no religion in this regard,'' he said, adding that his government would not give work permit as suggested by the BJP.
UNI MT SG MA HT1625