GUWAHATI: More than five years after India signed an agreement with Bangladesh to officially deport all illegal Bangladeshis, only four declared illegal foreigners have been deported from Assam exposing lack of commitment of the Bangladeshi authorities to the bilateral agreement.
Of the four, two declared illegal foreigners’ were deported from Assam in 2014 and two others in 2018.
Prior to March, 2013 there was a system by the Border Police to push back declared illegal foreigners to Bangladesh through the Indo-Bangla border. But the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries in March, 2013 had done away with the earlier system of pushing back declared foreigners. Bangladesh had agreed to the system of deportation of all Bangladeshis illegally staying in India.
Sources, however, said taking advantage of the 2013 bilateral agreement, the Bangladesh authorities has been trying to encourage the official deportation of only those of its nationals who are termed as “convicted illegal foreigners”. Since March 2013, the government of the neighboring country has officially received only 197 of the convicted illegal foreigners from its Indian counterpart.
There is a difference between ‘Declared illegal foreigners’ and ‘Convicted illegal foreigners’. The ‘Declared illegal foreigners’ are those who enter India without any legal and valid document. On other hand, the ‘Convicted illegal foreigners’ are those who enter India with legal documents but continue to stay in the country even after the expiry of validity of their documents.
With the Bangladesh authorities taking back only the’Convicted illegal foreigners’; fates of the ‘Declared illegal foreigners’ are hanging in the balance. Sources said if the Indian Government does not put pressure on its Bangladesh counterpart at the earliest to take back the declared illegal foreigners as per the 2013 bilateral agreement, such foreigners might make a vanishing act taking advantage of loopholes in the existing system.
With the Lok Sabha elections 2019 round the corner, the tricky issue of deportation of declared illegal foreigners to Bangladesh is unlikely to get the top priority in the list of subjects of the present regimes in Delhi and Dispur. The fate of the issue will now be at the dispensation of the next regime in Delhi.
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