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Court seeks report on counter-influx steps

Guwahati, July 29: Gauhati High Court has asked the Centre to file a report on steps it has taken to check influx of migrants from Bangladesh.

A division bench of Chief Justice Jasti Chelameswar and Justice Hareswar Barua on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by two Guwahati residents, within six weeks.

Voicing concern over flow of illegal migrants, Samnur Ali and Monjit Bhagwati stated in their petition that within a very short time Assam would “turn into a Muslim majority state and political power will be seized from the indigenous people”.

The petitioners also urged the government to take immediate steps to prevent the flow of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Assam.

According to them, the Constitution and The Representation of the People Act, 1950, are meant for Indian citizens only and the Bangladeshi migrants, most of whom are Muslims, have no right to stay in any part of India.

The order assumes significance when organisations like the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad have raised the bogey of infiltration.

A daylong conclave of Muslim leaders and intellectuals, organised by the Assam State Jamiat Ulema, yesterday sought Delhi’s intervention to check the atrocities being allegedly committed on Muslims in Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya. It alleged that they were being pushed out on suspicion of being Bangla-deshis.

Gautom Uzir, who represented the petitioners, alleged that Delhi was not sincere to stem infiltration of Bangla-deshi nationals to Assam. “The Centre remained a mute spectator even after former Governor S.K. Sinha in 1998 pointed out in a report that largescale illegal migration from Bangladesh over several decades had altered the state’s demographic pattern.”

“The Supreme Court, while repealing the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act on July 12, 2005, warned of a bloodless aggression following incessant flow of millions of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Assam,” the advocate said.

“Prevention of Infiltration from Pakistan Act, 1954, was enacted when Bimala Prasad Chaliha was the chief minister but the state government could not effectively implement it because of opposition from Muslim MLAs,” the petitioners alleged.

“According to Article 355 of the Constitution, it is the duty of the Centre to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbances,” Uzir said.

Illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals had triggered unrest among indigenous people, he alleged.

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