How did 35,000 Bangladeshis vanish, asks HC

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, April 8: Taking a serious view of the vanishing acts committed by detected Bangladeshi immigrants, the Gauhati High Court has rued that both the Central and State governments “are not at all serious towards detection, detention and deportation of such illegal Bangladeshi migrants.”

In a strong worded order, a bench of Justice BK Sharma said that if the verdicts given by the Foreigners Tribuls are not being implemented, “the question necessarily will arise as to what purpose the tribuls would serve.” This, the court said, owes an explation from both the Central and State governments.

The court was hearing a writ petition (civil) filed by five Bangladeshi tiols who were declared foreigners by a Foreigners Tribul in Silchar in August, 2009. Later in December that year, the Gauhati High Court had upheld the tribul verdict. A writ appeal preferred against the judgement was also dismissed by the Gauhati High Court in April 2013.

However, four of the five Bangladeshi tiols have done the vanishing act.

The court observed that such acts of vanishing are known to all, more particularly, those are at the helm of affairs. Pointing out to a list of declared foreigners who had gone missing and had filed writ petitions in the high court against the tribul judgements, the court also quoted a government report according to which about 35,000 foreigners have done the vanishing act.

“What is seen is that as in many such cases, once the foreigners are declared to be so, they do the vanishing act and the State administration expressed its helplessness with the stand that their whereabouts are now known, but efforts are being made to apprehend them,” the court observed, and noted that the issue of foreigners have not been dealt with “utmost sincerity, attention and expedition” by both the Central and State governments” despite the threat discussed vividly by the Supreme Court in the Sarbanda Sonowal-versus-Union of India case of 2005.

In its order on April 6, the court also took umbrage to the fact that the State and Central government could not file its affidavits within the stipulated period of one month as directed by the court.

“If this is the approach of the Union and the State governments in such a serious matter where the very existence of the indigenous people of Assam is in danger, what is in store in future can well be imagined,” Justice Sharma stated.

The court further directed the Central and State governments to apprise it on May 8 about the action plan for apprehension and deportation of declared foreigners “without entertaining the act of vanishing being done by such foreigners.”

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