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Work permit regime will help identify foreigners

NEW DELHI, Aug 12 - Even as speakers stressed on publication of White Papers at regular intervals on implementation of Assam Accord, former Home Secretary GK Pillai stressed on switching over to work permit regime to identify foreigners.
The day-two of the national seminar on ‘30 years of Assam Accord: Issues, Challenges and Implementation’, organised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), saw representative of the political parties, former bureaucrats and academicians make various suggestions on the execution of the remaining clauses of the Accord.
Those who also addressed the seminar today included former Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma, former Army official Lt General (retd) DB Shekhatkar, Vice Chancellor of Delhi University Dinesh Singh, State BJP president Siddharta Bhattacharyya, Rajya Sabha MPs Mani Shankar Aiyar and Bhubaneswar Kalita, Lok Sabha MP Kamakhya Tassa, AGP president Atul Bora, chairman of Rabha Autonomous Council Tankeswar Rabha, senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika and former DG BSF Ram Mohan, among others. The valedictory function was attended by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.
Stating that he has been following the progress of the Assam Accord for the last 15-16 years, the former Home Secretary said that there was a need for political solution and the government and the political parties are not keen to implement the Accord. “No political party wants to touch the issue,” he observed.
Explaining that Parliament should debate on the issue of work permit, Pillai, who had handled the Northeast Division in North Block for long, said there was a need to take a quick decision on work permit. “Otherwise we will face the consequences on the ground,” he said.
Justifying his argument, Pillai said if a work permit is issued, the government will have some record. “We have to find a political system to address the issue of work permit and ensure that migrants are not given political rights,” he said.
Stating that migration is an international phenomenon, the former Home Secretary said that sending out its people out of the country is the official policy of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh the total number of passport issued is twice its population.
However, Pillai’s strong plea for work permit was rejected by several speakers, who pointed out that burdened as it is by the illegal migrants, Assam cannot afford to host any more migrants from Bangladesh.
Former CEC Brahma suggested that AASU must release reports annually on progress of implementation of the Assam Accord. The Accord currently has no father, but somebody must own it, he opined.
There must be a regular meeting to review the implementation and a White Paper should be brought out every year, Brahma said.
Stating that violence is not a solution to any problem, former Army Lt General Shekhatkar, who had commanded the Tezpur-based Four Corp, said that it was not just an issue of signing an Accord but implementation of the Accord is equally important.
AGP president Atul Bora, who opposed the idea of issue of work permit to Bangladeshi migrants, said that an illegal foreigner cannot be protected on the basis of his religion. “We are opposed to the bid to differentiate illegal migrants on the basis of religion. All illegal foreigners, irrespective of their religion, must be deported,” he said. (Source:AssamTribuneonline)

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