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Will regularised refugees become citizens?: Gogoi

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 Oct 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Centre's notification has compounded foreigners problem in Assam, says CM


GUWAHATI, Oct 17: The amended Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950 and Foreigners' Order, 1948 was passed by the Centre in haste, leaving many sensitive and vital issues unresolved. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi leveled this allegation on Saturday, adding that it has further compounded the vexed foreigners' problem in Assam.

In a statement, Gogoi said though the Government of India has amended the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950 and the Foreigners' Order, 1948 through a notification on September 7, 2015 by exempting persons belonging to minority community in Bangladesh or Pakistan who have been compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution, and entered into India on or before December 31, 2014, it did not mention specifically about their acquiring Indian citizenship.

"The amendments have sought to provide relaxation for certain class of foreigners and for their stay in India. It did not mention anything about their acquiring Indian citizenship. It is not clear what kind of link is there, if any, with the Citizenship Act, 1955, particularly Section 6-A of the Citizenship Act pertaining to citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord and the Citizenship Rule, 2003, the Foreigners' Tribul Order, 1964 and Foreigners' Tribul for Assam Order, 2006," Gogoi said.

"If the persons of specified categories as exempted by the MHA notification and currently lodged in detention centres have to be released, then what process will have to be adopted? The notification is vague on this," he added.

Currently there are 191 persons belonging to the specified exempted category lodged in detention centres across the State.

Gogoi further pointed out that the amendment notification did not say anything about the status of the specified exempted category of persons who have been absconding after being declared foreigners by the Tribuls.

"Will the burden of proof lie upon them to prove that they belong to the exempted category? What about those persons who were tried and convicted by judicial courts for violation of Passport Act, 1967?" he questioned.

Gogoi said the amended notification carried out in haste has come to the fore as several issues have been left unresolved.

The Chief Minister while asking the MHA to come clear on these issues, queried as to whether the present notification would eventually lead to turalization of the exempted categories of persons and eble them to acquire Indian citizenship as per Schedule III of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

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