Vanishing Bangladeshis

Vanishing Bangladeshis

Nearly one lakh persons declared as foreigners by the various Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) have disappeared, and the government is not aware where these people are now.

Nearly one lakh persons declared as foreigners by the various Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) have disappeared, and the government is not aware where these people are now. As has been reported in the Sunday edition of this newspaper, the government had spent huge sums of money, which would have been otherwise utilised for various developmental purposes, in setting up and maintaining a mechanism to detect them, try them, and declare them as foreigners who had illegally entered India and were staying in Assam for years. The cost comes right from the point of the formation of tribunals: expenses incurred by the numerous border police who had to run after these people of suspected nationalities, the cost of running the tribunals, and so on. As has been reported, the Foreigners Tribunals have, until December 31, 2023, declared 1,59,353 people as foreigners. Among them, as many as 32,437 people had illegally entered Assam before 1971. Legally speaking, these 32 thousand odd people are Pakistanis. Additionally, altogether 1,26,880 persons entered the state after 1971, that is, after the birth of Bangladesh, and hence are Bangladeshis. Unfortunately, the government machinery has been able to deport only 30,107 of these declared foreigners from among them until January 28, 2024. The laws of the land do not permit persons to stay in India after they are declared as foreigners. Going by the fact that close to one lakh such declared foreigners are still roaming around freely in the country, one can easily conclude that those officers who are responsible for deporting these people have utterly failed in discharging their duty. Letting foreigners stay in the country is not an ordinary offence. The presence of such people is a serious threat to the very security, integrity, and sovereignty of the country. These people have already caused serious damage to Assam. While these people have occupied precious land belonging to the indigenous and tribal communities of Assam, the demography of several districts has been altered. Moreover, these people are a potential security threat in that militant groups controlled from foreign territory have reached out to pockets infested by illegal migrants and have already jeopardised the security of the country. The higher courts of the country should take cognizance of this and intervene so that every single foreigner is detected and deported.

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