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A Cloud Hanging Over Illegal Migrant Issue Since 1961!

A Cloud Hanging Over Illegal Migrant Issue Since 1961!

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Aug 2018 7:49 AM GMT

Deportation of foreigners from Assam

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Aug 21: The origin of foreigner problem in Assam is traced back to 1961 when the Census report assessed that 2.20 lakh infiltrators had entered Assam. Had it been tackled with an iron hand at that time, the situation of foreigners in the State would not have escalated to such an extent as it is now. Thanks to a section that has been opposing any move on the part of the government for deportation of foreigners from Assam since 1961.

A chronological study of escalation of the problem of foreigners in Assam till today reveals political and social failure. It was based on the 1961 Census Report that on March 22, 1961 the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote a letter to the Government of Assam, stating: “The Central Intelligence Bureau had reported that infiltration of Pakistani (now Bangladeshi) nationals into Assam without any valid documents is still going on at a fairly high rate…This is posing a serious problem in Assam and has been carefully considered by the Government of India and they have no objection to the issue of deportation orders strong away (becoming and making less strong) against the persons who are without any valid documents and regarding whose Pakistani nationality there is no doubt…”

After the Census report assessing around 2.20 lakh Pakistanis (now Bangladeshis) in Assam, the State police did start a drive against infiltrators in mid-1962 only to hit a strong opposition and criticism from some leaders of Assam and a threat from Pakistan to drag the issue of deportation of Pakistanis to the United Nations. Succumbing to the pressure of such opposition a judicial system in the form of foreigners tribunals (FTs) was introduced in the State, leading to the creation of four such tribunals in 1964. With the swelling of the number of FTs in Assam from four in 1964 to 100 now, who else knows it better than an Assamese that all such FTs have only complicated the problem of foreigners in the State, rather than solving it?

Infiltration into Assam from Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was also reported between 1947 and 1952. However, all those infiltrators could not be deported because there had been no passport and visa regulations between India and Pakistan till that time.

Assam did miss the bus in solving the problem of infiltration from Pakistan when the NRC (National Register of Citizens) was created in the State in 1951. The NRC of 1951 did enumerate each and every person residing in the State containing information on relevant particulars like issuance of holding numbers to each and every household, nationality of every individual mentioning his/her father’s/husband’s name, livelihood etc. NRCs were with the SDOs in the offices of the deputy commissioners. By early 1960s such NRC were transferred to the police for facilitating verification of illegal migrants into the State.

In 1951 the NRC was created and in 1960s the Census report assessed the number of infiltrators into the State to be as huge as 2.20 lakh. However, when deportation was initiated, opposition from some sections of leaders was prompt. The same section of leaders is bent on thwarting any move to deport foreigners from the State even now. Even after 67 years of the creation on NRC in Assam, a cloud continues to hang over the issue of deportation of foreigners from the State. Should Assam succumb to any more pressure? Can the NRC, when updated, solve the problem once and for all?

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