Activists of AASU and 26 other organisations take out a rally demanding deportation of illegal migrants at Nagaon on Friday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, Sept. 21: Gauhati High Court today asked Dispur to file an affidavit by November 19 on the steps taken by it to detect and deport illegal migrants.
The directive was issued by a division bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, in connection with a public interest litigation (number 57/2012) filed by Assam Tribal Sangha.
The sangha had sought appropriate directions from the court to the government to ensure that no illegal Bangladeshi migrant can settle down in the state taking advantage of the process initiated by the government to rehabilitate people displaced in the recent BTAD violence.
The petitioner submitted before the court that northeastern states have been facing the problem of influx from Bangladesh for a long time, which has changed the region’s demography and threatened national security.
It said the problem had not been resolved despite initiatives taken by the Centre and the state government.
The high court today directed Assam chief secretary N.K. Das to file the affidavit by November 19 and also to mention how far the measures taken by the state government have been successful in identifying and deporting illegal migrants.
In its PIL, the sangha stated that only those who had land documents and their names in the 1971 voter list should be rehabilitated in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD).
The petitioner alleged that illegal migrants from Bangladesh were making their way into the relief camps, taking advantage of the prevailing turmoil and uncertainty, and were trying to illegally stake claim to the relief package announced for the genuine riot-affected Indian citizens. They alleged that the illegal migrants were trying to secure Indian citizenship by claiming to be Indian citizens displaced by the riots.
In the petition, the sangha has raised concerns over alleged encroachment in tribal belts and blocks by illegal migrants.
The petitioner wants the government to carry out checks to ascertain the citizenship of the people taking shelter in the relief camps. It claimed that the authorities were trying to hurriedly close down the relief camps and, therefore, seeking to rehabilitate illegal migrants.
“People seeking rehabilitation ought to be subjected to stringent and strict scrutiny on account of the doubtful citizenship of a section of the inmates of the relief camps so as to ensure that no Bangladeshi national can take benefit of the rehabilitation scheme,” the PIL said.
Various organisations representing the Bodo and other ethnic communities of the state had authorised the sangha to file the PIL in the high court.
The decision was taken in a meeting held at the head office of Bodo Sahitya Sabha in Kokrajhar on September 2.
Apart from the sangha, representatives of organisations such as the Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Bodoland Citizens Forum, All Bodo Women’s Welfare Association, Bodo Women’s Justice Forum, All Assam Tribal Youth League and the All Surrendered NDFB Welfare Association, attended the meeting.