CENTRE'S NOTIFICATION ON MINORITY MIGRANTS
BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 12: The recent Union Home ministry notification regularizing the entry and stay of minority migrants has opened up a Pandora's box.
With the controversial notification drawing flak from various quarters in the State, legal circles are apprehensive that immigrants from minority communities in Bangladesh presently undergoing trial in various Foreigners Tribuls in Assam may get the leeway if the notification is implemented.
There are some 2.5 lakh cases pending in the Foreigners Tribuls, of which around 70 per cent (1.75 lakh) are of immigrants belonging to the Hindu-Bengali community.
"If the government decides to implement the order, all these cases (of Hindu-Bengali immigrants) will have to be withdrawn from the Foreigners Tribuls. The government has decided to take them as refugees so there is no point in continuing the cases which are mostly under the Passport Act," said senior lawyer Nekibur Zaman.
Moreover, the notification may also come as a reprieve for Hindu-Bengalis from Bangladesh already declared foreigners and presently lodged at the three detention camps in the State.
Many in legal circles feel that the FTs itself will become "redundant".
"What is the point of having so many FTs then? We already have 34 functioning tribuls. The government has now appointed judges for the 64 tribuls that are coming up," said another lawyer.
The tribuls were first set up in 1985 under the now-repealed IMDT Act. Crores of rupees of public money have been spent on their functioning since then.
However, the conviction rate in the FTs is only a measly six per cent. The functioning FTs are however crippled with manpower shortage and infrastructure bottlenecks.
Number of illegal migrants detected - 59,512
Number of migrants deported 2,446
Migrants registered with FRRO 13,900
Pending writ petitions in HC 636
Inmates in detention camps 70
(Source: Assam Assembly, August, 2014)