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Issue job cards to Bangladeshi immigrants sans rights: APW

Guwahati: A civil society group in Assam today asked the government to issue job cards to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants staying in the state but without any rights to vote, higher education and land purchasing power.

The group Assam Public Works (APW), which has been fighting a case at the Supreme Court regarding updation of correct voter lists since 2009, also supported updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) taking 1971 as the base year.

Assam-Bangladesh border. Reuters

Assam-Bangladesh border. Reuters

"We have to be realistic. An estimated one crore Bangladeshi people are living in Assam illegally at present. It is impossible to send back them. So, we want the government to give them job cards, but without any rights," said APW president Abhijeet Sharma in Guwahati.

He said the illegal immigrants should not get voting rights and they should not be allowed to take the benefit of higher eduction, besides prohibiting purchasing of land.

"As per the government's own data, about 41 lakh Bangladeshi people vote in Assam currently. This is a serious issue. In fact, one major political party in the state assembly is formed with the help of these votes," Sharma alleged.

APW, which mostly consists of local businessmen, said it supports the updation of NRC taking 1971 as the base year.

PTI