| Abdul Muhib Mazumder |
Guwahati, Sept. 26: Abdul Muhib Mazumder, the architect of the now-scrapped Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, has conveyed to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi that updating the 1951 National Register of Citizens would not solve the “nagging and cancerous” foreigners issue.
A senior Congress MLA and chairperson of the Assam State Commission for Minorities, Mazumder gave Gogoi a seven-page note on the foreigner problem during a meeting of Muslim legislators and PCC office-bearers on September 20.
The note assumes significance in light of the fact that Gogoi has promised to update the NRC within three years.
Mazumder said, “I also suggested that the preparation of the NRC was not a solution because AASU or any other organisation would say that it contained names of foreigners. That apart, without identifying and segregating the illegal foreigners, the NRC cannot be prepared.”
Therefore, Mazumder stressed the need for Dispur to spell out a fixed legal procedure to be followed by the thana/area committee in identifying foreigners as proposed by the chief minister.
According to him, a person should be allowed to lodge complaints against suspected foreigners in the local police station, which should then refer the case to the thana committee, comprising leading citizens and representatives of police, administration, political parties as well as apolitical organisations such as the AASU, AAMSU, APW, Jamiat or Bajrang Dal.
“If the thana-level committee is convinced there is prima facie merit in the case, it should then be referred to the foreigners tribunals. The rule may specify that the complaint will be entertained even if there is difference of opinion. Stray identification on mere suspicion either by police or unidentified members of the public will lead to chaos,” Mazumder told The Telegraph while confirming that he had submitted such a note.
Mazumder has also sought amendments to the Foreigners Act, wherein lodging of complaint by an individual against suspected foreigners and looking into the complaint by a scrutiny committee before it was referred to a foreigners tribunal were incorporated.
He also mentioned the suggestions he had made to check influx after preparing the draft IM(DT) Act in 1983 and again after drafting the Assam Accord in 1985. “I repeated the same request to the Centre and government of Assam (both AGP and the Congress) that unless these measures were acted upon, the foreigners problem would always remain.”
The suggestions included identifying foreigners from Nepal and Bangladesh and their deportation in accordance with law, preparation of National Register of Residents (NRR), sealing of the international border, introduction of inner-line permits for a limited period for those coming from other states, photographing all residents family-wise, compulsory registration of birth and death, providing identity cards to every member of a family and even to labourers working in cities.
“I had suggested that the NRR should include names of foreigners already residing in the state. Provision should be made for filing of complaints as provided in the IM(DT) Act against illegal migrants and on receipt of such a report, the cases be referred to the foreigners tribunals,” he said.