Kiren Rijiju, minister of state for home, is relaxed over a cup of tea at his official residence.
, minister of state for home, is relaxed over a cup of tea at his official residence. Presumably there are three reasons — the Assam election results, his flight in a Sukhoi and an official visit by a Chinese delegation. In an interview with
Sanjib KR Baruah
, Mr Rijiju talks about development of borders and why the Assam win is of national significance and says it will be easy for the Centre to handle issues in the Northeast because of a BJP government in Assam.
A high-level Chinese delegation just visited you. Being from Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its own, do you read anything into it The Chinese embassy in New Delhi sought my time a week back for a big delegation comprising senior trade and business officials from Guangdong province. The fact that a Chinese official team came and met me is itself significant. And I appreciate the gesture of the Chinese people and the embassy. It is a wonderful thing that they recognise us and meeting me officially is a positive thing.
A few days back you flew in a Sukhoi. Do you have more such plans Next I am planning to go to the remotest border areas on foot to stay with the soldiers. In the most remote areas, whenever I have visited our posts, the soldiers tell me I am the first Union minister to have gone there. So on land or on sea, I will go. It is a morale booster. At least soldiers feel people sitting in the ministry are trying to familiarise themselves with the conditions the soldiers endure.
What are the implications of the Assam win It has national significance as the Northeast needs a strong nationalist government because of various security reasons and influx of illegal immigrants. And there will be a constructive engagement with regard to the burning issues of the Northeast. It will be much easier now to tackle various issues because of a favourable BJP government in Assam.
What will be the priorities Development and securing the rights of the indigenous people of Assam and the Union home ministry will take the lead. We will work closely with the Assam government and secure the border areas.
Three states in the region have a Christian majority while others are multi-religious. Will the BJP find acceptability Nagaland has been under the NDA government for the last three terms, the BJP has been part of the coalition in Meghalaya too. In Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP is supporting a regional party. In the last two byelections in Manipur, the BJP captured both the seats. So the only states where the BJP needs to open its account are Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, we will look for domination of the BJP in the entire Northeast. Also, the Congress has been exposed. Northeast people have given enough chances. They have ripped the Northeast for six decades.
How do you view the border problem How do you plan to resolve the issues On the border front, there are three important factors. First, the physical aspect. We will fence unfinished areas along Indo-Bangladesh which have been pending because of lack of cooperation of the state governments. Along Myanmar, we plan robust maintenance of the border. Second, we will have to use technological solutions. Wherever it is difficult physically, we will deploy technology to guard the borders. Third, we will have to develop our borders.
What is the status of the peace initiative with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland and the United Liberation Front of Asom Our interlocutor is engaging with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) leadership and we have covered substantial ground. Just a few modalities remain. We will consult all stakeholders, including the governments of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. We will hammer out a solution keeping in mind the concerns of neighbouring states. It should not take much time now.
With the Arabinda Rajkhowa faction of ULFA, talks have been smooth and by and large we are in agreement with the demands. We are also very hopeful that there is a new government in Assam. So we should get some good news soon.
Do you think the issues in Assam can be resolved without Paresh Barua’s participation in the talks It is entirely up to Mr Barua. Anybody who has taken up such activity, if they realise their mistakes and forsake violence, we will welcome them for talks.
On the Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur case, there are allegations that under the UPA false evidences were filed It is a bizarre case. The role the UPA has played in the 2008 Malegaon case as well as in the two other cases. The way the UPA government pressurised and conducted the whole exercise is a big fraud. One person was arrested and just to put him under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999, he was framed in two previous cases that were backdated. And the investigation process was completed in hours. An investigation of a terror case under MCOCA is done in hours, is that possible You will be surprised The Congress wanted to create a belief that there is Hindu terrorism. And they coined it saffron terror. It is an effort to try and paint the Hindu community in a negative light.
In the Ishrat Jahan case too there are allegations of false affidavits to frame Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. There are also allegations that files have been misplaced Ishrat Jahan is a known and confirmed terrorist. And the then home minister, P. Chidambaram, gives a clean chit that she is not a terrorist. It is an anti-national act and he will not do it alone. There must be some people behind him to pressurise him to commit such an act. Whatever he did, it is a complete somersault on what he did earlier.
We are also investigating whether some important files relating to the case had been missing or misplaced. The report is almost ready and will come out in the next few days. The probe is nearing completion.
Do you buy the argument that the Maoists are on the run The activities of Left-wing extremists are slowing down and the efforts of the government are showing. The Maoists are feeling the pressure. And that is why at times they make desperate moves. They are at the receiving point. The government is leading a three-pronged strategy. Development: you have to make development reach the tribal peoples; security: enhancing the capacity; and perception management: right information to the affected that whatever the LWE are doing is anti-development, anti-democratic and anti-national.
Is the public mood in Kashmir a cause for concern It has always been a concern. But the governments — Central and state — are doing their best to bring normalcy.