NEW DELHI: A CBI inquiry into the Assam violence has been initiated and the Army put on alert, the government told the Rajya Sabha today as the opposition alleged that the region was not safe because of vote bank politics by the ruling Congress.
Replying to a debate on the issue of violence in Assam that has so far claimed 74 lives, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the government was taking the issue seriously and has already initiated a CBI inquiry to ascertain the causes behind violent incidents.
"The government is taking this issue very seriously. A CBI team has gone there and an inquiry has started....I have instructed the Army to be alert," he said.
As the opposition created an uproar expressing dissatisfaction over his reply, Shinde said, "I have instructed the Army to be on alert. What else do you want?"
He also listed the steps taken by the government to provide relief and rehabilitation, but the opposition dismissed what he said by creating uproar.
Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley charged the government with adopting the policy of vote bank politics that led to the current violent incidents in the state and alleged that the region was "not safe in its hands" if such a policy continued.
Jaitley also urged the government to have a relook at "this vote-bank policy" and start identifying the real problem of illegal infiltration that was causing unrest in the area.
"If you adopt the original line of Gopinath Bordoloi (who wanted the cultural and linguistic identity of the North East) India will be safe in your hands. But if you adopt vote bank politics, I don't think this region is safe in your hands," he said.
Jaitley accused the Centre of adopting a "clerical" approach to the problem and urged the Home Minister to reject such an approach.
"Here was a government which not only discarded the original Assam line..." but encouraged illegal infiltration enmasse in search of votebank politics, he said.
Welcoming the CBI probe into the issue, Jaitley urged the government not to treat this as a "simple crime" and not "miss out" on the issues as to why such incidents have taken place.
He also feared that going by "the kind of situation that is existing in these areas, such incidents are likely to be repeated".
"Is this not a normal consequence of the unnatural change of the demography that has taken place in those areas?" he asked.
Reminding the Congress leadership of the policy adopted by its former leader in Assam Gopinath Bordoloi, who wanted the cultural and linguistic identity of the North East, particularly of Assam, to be maintained, the BJP leader charged the ruling party with adopting a policy of vote-bank politics by allowing illegal immigrants and not deporting them.
"The Congress leadership at the time of partition was fully conscious of the North East and rightly so that its identity has to be maintained...Unfortunately somewhere post- Independence the line that the Congress took before partition was altered by the subsequent people in the party.
"They realised that Assamese vote was going away from them and so they were in search for an alternative vote bank...It is the pursuit of that alternative votebank that is the reason for the problems today," Jaitley said.