Yawning gaps in Indo-Bangla border
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 14: Unhappy at the lax magement of the Indo-Bangladesh border, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central and State governments to take immediate steps on the report submitted by advocate commissioner Upamanyu Hazarika, who, after a field visit, pointed to several gaps facilitating easy infiltration from across the border.
In his report, the advocate commissioner stated that patrolling was not adequate in the Dhubri sector of the border where most stretches were open. In the Silchar sector, there were gaps like idequate flood-lighting due to non-supply of power and sparse presence of State police.
Taking serious note of the lapses, a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N Fali riman asked both the Central and State governments to take immediate steps to improve border force by deploying more border guarding forces, improving border roads and ensuring effective flood-lighting.
The court observed the commissioner's report that said that within a 150-metre stretch between the border and the fenced area, there were a number of villages and people were coming and going on the basis of "strange kind of passes issued by the BSF".
"Very little done" and "things are just merrily going on and the infiltration continues on a large scale", observed the bench.
The apex court also asked the advocate commissioner to visit the intertiol border areas again after two months and ascertain if the government has initiated measures to plug the gaps.
The apex court also directed the Guwahati High Court to set up the additiol 64 Foreigners Tribuls, in addition to the existing 36, by August 10.
State NRC coorditor Prateek Hazela, who submitted a sealed affidavit of the State government on the NRC update issue, informed the Supreme Court that around 5 lakh cases are pending in the Foreigners Tribuls. The court asked the State government to ensure that the cases are disposed off within a stipulated time-frame and instructed the High Court to upgrade the FT infrastructure for the purpose if required.
The Supreme Court also directed the Centre and the Assam government to clarify apprehensions that children of thousands of illegal migrants from Bangladesh would become citizens of this country by default on account of certain ambiguities in the Citizenship Act, 1995.
According to Rule 3 of the Citizenship Act, any person born in India is an Indian citizen. There are apprehensions that children born to illegal migrants can get benefit of this ambiguity in the law.
The apex court sought the views from the Centre and the State on the issue by July 21.
Meanwhile, several organizations, including the AASU and tribal bodies, submitted additiol affidavits in the apex court seeking changes in the modalities of the NRC update exercise. The court will take up the affidavits for hearing on July 21 and 22.