ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ASSAM-Spoils for Consolidation

ASSAM Spoils for Consolidation WHILE the Hiteswar Saikia ministry, despite all threats that it would forever remain an outcast in the public eye, is slowly consolidating itself, the leaders of the agitation on the question of foreign nationals in the state are now faced with the prospect of having to seek a confrontation with the state authorities in order to force the Centre to resume negotiations with them. The agitation leaders are not accustomed to being ignored, having for much of the past three years occupied the centre of the stage. But ever since the 'popular' ministry was sworn in, the Chief Minister, while routinely reiterating the readiness of his government to resume negotiations on the vexed question of pre-1971 foreign national in the state, has also skilfully ensured that no negotiations will be resumed on the terms of the agitation leaders. Thus, even as the leaders of the agitation insist that negotiations can be held only with the Centre and not with the 'illegal' state government, every reiteration by the Centre and by the state government of a readiness to resume negotiations includes the mandatory clause that such negotiations are to be resumed "with all interests concerned". Clearly this last is a reference to the (representatives (genuine, self-appointed or created by state agencies) of linguistic, religious and ethnic minorities whom the leaders of the agitation hold to be at best, dalals of foreigners.

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