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Only Of Academic Interest

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  1 July 2017 12:00 AM GMT

There are newspaper reports that the Assam Police is likely to introduce about 30 hand-held biometric devices aimed at capturing photographs and fingerprints of suspected illegal foreigners by the end of this year. [The word biometry or biometrics (in the plural form) means the application of statistical alysis to biological data.] So far, about 41,000 declared foreigners of the post-1971 stream have maged to evade arrest. It is claimed that the instant fingerprint registration and identity verification system is being introduced for the Border Police as a measure to put a check on the vanishing act of the illegal migrants (that has been raised to the level of a fine art) and also to eble the border staff to match the identity of any suspected foreigner if he or she is caught at a later stage. This process of creating an exclusive database is expected to start by the end of this year, with the Mumbai-based firm, Zebra Company being assigned the task of executing the project.

The rather casual approach to the entire business of detecting and deporting illegal migrants living in Assam should have begun in the early 1960s. Entire decades were allowed to go by without the government giving any indication that it was at all concerned about the large-scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh and elsewhere. And now we are making much ado about a process that will merely record the photographs and thumb impressions of a few thousand illegal migrants from other countries. At a time when there is need for a serious concern about millions of illegal foreign migrants in Assam, we are being distracted by devices that can record photographs and thumb impressions of a few thousand illegal migrants. The most obvious question, of course, is what we shall do with a data base of photographs and thumb impressions of the few thousand foreign migrants when their number is in millions and when the active practice of polygamy has led to the very rapid increase in the population of illegal foreign migrants. Most of the families of illegal migrants from Bangladesh have between 16 and 24 members. It is thus a cruel joke on the people of Assam for the Union government or the State government to be talking about biometric devices to detect foreigners in the State. The logical question is: What does the government propose to do with the database of mes, photographs and impressions of foreign tiols who have lived illegally and multiplied with abandon in the State of Assam for several decades? Can a government that recommends that the term ‘illegal migrant’ should no longer be used (since it has made up its mind unilaterally to treat all foreign migrants as legal migrants), be expected to take a ratiol view of what unchecked large-scale illegal immigration can do to the demographic structure of a State? It cannot. After about six decades of total neglect of a serious problem, the State government seems to believe that is still has the right to pretend that it is in no way responsible for what has taken place to bring about an unholy transformation of the demographic pattern of Assam. This is the kind of fraud on the people of the State that cannot be condoned, no matter what asinine compensatory measures the State government can cook up to pretend that has become aware of the large-scale illegal immigration of foreign tiols only at this point of time! In our experience of the unmitigated fraud practiced by a State government on its own people, what is happening in Assam today will stand out as a classic example of how actively a State government can work against its own people in order to ratiolize its series of administrative blunders.

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