Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Sunday claimed that the state is on growth trajectory and asked the people of Assam to exert "moral pressure" on proscribed ULFA(I) chief Paresh Barua to give up his sovereignty demand.
Sarma interacting with media persons here on New Year's day said criteria other than population should be considered for future delimitation exercises and the state police is keeping a strict eye on the involvement of Islamic clerics in 'jihadi' activities.
The chief minister said Assam is on the growth trajectory after achieving considerable financial stability during 2022 and for the first time did not ddepend on the Centre for paying its employees' salaries. This has been possible due to increased oil royalty, excise, transport and GST collections.
"There has been an increase in tax collection and this symbolises vibrancy in the economy. This has been possible due to the cooperation by the people and different organisations, leading to a new growth trajectory,' he said adding the state's GDP growth at 13 per cent is an increase from the previous year's 12.66 per cent.
Sarma said the people of the state will have to convince the ULFA(I) chief that history will not consider him (Barua) a betrayer if he gives up the demand for sovereignty.
"Our (government) efforts are on ...We have kept the doors open ... There are points of differences and also points of agreement. We should remain hopeful", Sarma said.
However, the problem in taking forward the talk process is that Barua insists on a sovereign Assam. "But I as the chief minister have taken oath on the Constitution to protect Assam's sovereignty and integrity and I cannot retreat.
"At this stage there are irreconcilable differences. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the people, including intellectuals and different organisations, who must exert moral pressure to urge him to give up the demand for sovereigntyТТ, he said.
The chief minister said that there will be a delimitation exercise of parliamentary and assembly seats based on the 2001 census as it was done in other states. But there should be a debate in the Parliament to incorporate other criteria as well, which he did not elaborate.
The last delimitation exercise in Assam was in 1976 on the basis of the 1971 census.
"According to the current law, population is the basis for delimitation but some communities have abided by population control policy while others have not. Those who have violated the policy are being rewarded and those who abided by it are being punished," he said.
"But in the coming exercise we have to go by the current law which states that constituencies will be delimited on the basis of population matrix," Sarma, who is a top BJP leader of the Northeast said.
The chief minister said that all teachers who have come from outside Assam to teach in the madrasas may be asked to appear at regular intervals in the nearest police station.
The police has busted eight modules of terrorist organisations Ansarul Bangla Team and Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent during the just concluded year in which 51 people were arrested and direct involvement of nine Bangladeshis was detected for operating from some private madrasas, he said.
The police are coordinating with Bengali Muslims who have a positive attitude towards education to create a good environment in the madrasas where science and mathematics will be taught, right to education respected and a database of teachers maintained, he said.
The state police, he said, is working with Muslims in the state to rationalise madrasa education following the alleged involvement of Islamic clerics in 'jihadi' activities.
Sarma, who is also the state home minister, said that 2022 also witnessed the end of tribal and adivasi insurgency in the state with the surrender of 7229 cadres of different outfits following agreement with the central and state governments.
The Assam police also seized drugs worth Rs 781 crore, one of the largest haul in the country excluding by sea, as against Rs 400 crore the previous year.