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Aliens thrive in our living space, FTs falter under huge burden

The sheer number of foreigners’ cases pending in the State and registration of new cases every month has made the 100 existing foreigners (FTs) tribunals in the State stumble under a mammoth burden. The situation has come to such a pretty pass that further extension of the term of the 64 additional FTs in the State could become crucial to tackling the rampancy of illegal immigration from Bangladesh

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, May 16: That the colossally nagging problem of foreigners – their detection, declaration and deportation – in Assam is a Herculean task calling for far more concerted endeavour by all concerned, has been brought to light by yet another starling revelation.
The enormity of the problem stems from the number of new cases being brought to the foreigners tribunals (FTs) by the Border Police in the State even after 33 years of the signing of the Assam Accord. This has proved beyond doubt that 33 years is too short a period for the State and judicial machineries to get the issue resolved!
The number of new cases that came to the 100 FTs in the State in January this year could be a case study. As many as 256 new cases came to the tribunals in January when the 100 FTs together disposed of as many as 2,765 cases – shockingly declaring 1,471 people as foreigners of the post-March 25, 1971 stream and 156 others of the January 1, 1966-March 24, 1971 stream. Such large-scale declaration of foreigners in a just a month in the State simply points to the enormity of the problem.
In accordance with the Assam Accord, the voting rights of the foreigners of January 1, 1966-March 24, 1971 stream is to be curtailed for ten years and their names are to figure in the electoral roll only after that.
Since their inception, FTs have declared as many as 57,592 of post-March 25, 1971 stream and 27,980 others of the January 1, 1966-March 24, 1971 stream as foreigners.
The hugeness of the problem can also be gauged from the fact that the Gauhati High Court had to ask Dispur and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to raise the number of FTs in the State to 100 from 36. Complying with the order, the number of FTs in the State had to be raised to 100 by setting up 64 additional foreigners tribunals along with the 36 permanent ones. The term of each and every additional FT is two years. However, their terms had to be extended by another two years, which is going to expire in 2019.
The sheer number of foreigners’ cases pending in the State and registration of new cases every month has made the 100 existing FTs in the State stumble under a mammoth burden. The situation has come to such a pretty pass that further extension of the term of the 64 additional FTs in the State could become crucial to tackling the rampancy of illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
Till January this year, there were 1,82,926 cases against people of suspected nationalities pending in the State.

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Ankur Kalita