Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday while praising the BJP-led Assam government for strongly tackling illegal migration, alleged that the West Bengal government was not cooperating with the Centre in dealing with the problem.
The TMC which runs the Bengal government and with which the BJP has long been at daggers drawn, was quick to respond calling the home minister’s claim “a white lie” and pointing out that stopping illegal migration was the job of the BSF which the central government runs.
Addressing a public rally to mark the first anniversary of the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led NDA government in Assam, Shah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to end the problem of infiltration but claimed 'Bengal is not cooperating with the centre'.
'On the other hand, Assam is standing rock-solid behind the centre and is fighting the problem strongly with result evident in the remarkable decrease in illegal infiltration', Shah said.
TMC termed Shah’s allegations as baseless and pointed out that it was the duty of the Borders Security Force to stop smuggling and illicit movement of people.
“It’s a white lie by the Union Home Minister. The West Bengal government has extended all support to the union government and the central agencies in tackling infiltration.
It is because of dereliction of duty by the BSF (run by the central government) that cross border infiltration and smuggling is taking place,” TMC national spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Ray told PTI.
He claimed that in the recent past, some BSF officials have been arrested “for their involvement in smuggling”.
The home minister said that he had visited the Indo-Bangladesh border at Mankachar in Assam on Monday and 'data reveals that during the last six years, infiltration has declined considerably and we hope to completely end it soon'.
Referring to the earlier rampant cattle smuggling to Bangladesh through Assam, Shah said that Sarma's government has ensured that all doors in the state has been closed for cattle smugglers.
Allegations of illegal migration form an important part of the political narrative in this border state, where the issue led to a prolonged agitation in the 1980s leading to the Assam accord which promised to identify `foreigners' and de-franchise them.
Since then, the issue has been taken up by the NDA which has promised to bring a National Register for Citizens which would exclude illegal migrants.