Senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Friday claimed that a systematic effort is on to push Rohingya Muslims into the state by some vested interests and the recent protests against the Citizenship Bill have aided it.
Police have arrested 75 Rohingya Muslims recently and most of them were picked up from Hojai, Lumding, Cachar and Karimganj districts, the state finance minister said.
Karimganj alone accounted for 30 such arrests in the last one month, he said here.
These districts have witnessed demographic change in the past few decades and this could be an effort to further change the demographic pattern of the state, Sarma claimed.
"Certain organisations are making concerted efforts to push Rohingya Muslims into Assam and a network has developed to raise donations for them," the BJP leader told reporters.
The agitation against the Citizenship Bill has also helped those organisations in their efforts, the minister asserted.
The Bill seeks to provide citizenship to minorities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh after residence in the country for six years instead of the current 11 years.
The Bill triggered widespread protests in the Northeast as indigenous people of the region are apprehending that if the Bill is enacted, it will endanger their livelihood and identity.
Stating that there is no designated camp for Rohingyas in Assam, he said they were either in judicial custody, or detention camps or were repatriated.
Asked if they can stay in Assam with refugee status, he said India does not recognise any such identity granted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and accepts only those granted by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
"As such, the question of keeping them in the state does not arise," Sarma said.
He said the first Rohingya was arrested in 2009 in Assam and till 2013 there were many cases of detection and apprehension, but from 2013 to 2017, there were no detection.
He accused the then Congress government of not making any statement on this outside or inside the Assembly.
The minister said 15 people have so far been arrested in Assam for posting anti-India comments on social media platforms in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack of February 14.
Altogether 16 cases have been registered across 13 districts of the state, he said.
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