Agartala, Feb 8 (IANS) Most Indians want further strengthening of the India-Bangladesh ties and continuance of the provisions of the Indira-Mujib agreement, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said here on Monday, refuting the demand of VHP leader Praveen Togadia for modification in the 44-year-old accord.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) international working president Togadia, while addressing a gathering here recently, demanded that the 1951 electoral rolls must be the base for identifying infiltrators.
He said the VHP disapproves of 1971 as the cut-off year to categorise the Bangladeshi infiltrators as per the Indira-Mujib agreement.
The Indira-Mujib agreement was signed on March 19, 1972, between the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, determining various issues of the two countries, including 1971 as the cut-off year to identify the Bangladeshi infiltrators/refugees to India.
“Most Indians and the government do not want any kind of modification or scrapping of Indira-Mujib accord. Current decadal population growth in Tripura is 13 to 14 percent against 34 percent 30 years ago,” said Sarkar, 69-year-old leader of Communist Party of India-Marxist, while addressing a gathering in connection with a book release programme.
The chief minister said: “Togadia’s demands for deployment of the Indian Army in certain areas of Bangladesh to protect the Hindus of that country or DNA test to determine the infiltrators from Bangladesh to India, are dangerous demands and such demand can only instigate war against a country.”
“Togadia demanded death sentence for Bangladeshi infiltrators. Such demand would set fire on the sensitive issue. Such demands only damage the relations of the two countries.”
Sarkar, who is a very popular Indian politician in Bangladesh, said India-Bangladesh relations are now at a high point and this must not be spoiled at any cost, rather this relation should be further improved.
“Both New Delhi and Dhaka are now jointly working to further strengthen the rail, road, water and air connectivity to boost the economy and trade of the two countries in general and people to people relations in particular,” said Sarkar.
Some Bangladeshi writers and poets were also present at the function, organised by a local publishing house to release their 18 books on the eve of the 34th Agartala book fair, beginning February 14.
Sarkar, drawing attention of the Bangladeshi intellectuals, said: “Like you, we are also not living well. Inimical elements and unfavourable political situations are prevailing both India and Bangladesh. We all must remain alert.”
The Congress also demanded that the Left Front government in Tripura arrests Togadia and takes stern legal action against him for his alleged provocative speech.
At several public meetings during his three-day visit to Tripura, Togadia claimed that over 15 million infiltrators, mostly Bangladeshis, were illegally living in the northeastern states, West Bengal and other states, and the infiltration has been posing security threats.
“The central and state governments must initiate a time-bound action plan to push back infiltrators or give them death sentences by enacting a suitable law,” he added.