Deportation slow in Assam

Only 33 illegal migrants sent back in a year: Minister

By A STAFF REPORTER in Guwahati
  • Published 9.05.17
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Chandra Mohan Patowary speaks in the Assembly on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, May 8: Only 33 illegal migrants from Bangladesh were deported from Assam between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017.

Parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary revealed this figure while replying to a query from AGP MLA Pabindra Deka during question hour in the Assembly today.

Patowary was replying on behalf of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who holds the home portfolio.

The reply revealed that the process of deporting illegal migrants is yet to pick up the desired pace though the BJP-led government came to power in the state in May last year.

Patowary said illegal migrants are deported following a legal process, which takes time. He said several cases of suspected illegal migrants are pending before foreigners tribunals and even if a tribunal finds a person to be an illegal migrant, the accused can appeal against the verdict in the high court, which makes the whole process time-consuming.

Deka said the Centre should sign a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh to send back illegal migrants.

Patowary said the state government had written to the Centre last year about the need for a repatriation treaty with Bangladesh to facilitate the deportation of illegal migrants.

Opposition leader and Congress MLA Debabrata Saikia questioned why a repatriation treaty was not signed with the neighbouring country when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently visited India and signed 22 agreements.

There was an uproar in the Assembly after Congress legislator Sherman Ali Ahmed made a remark about Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of deportation of illegal migrants.

BJP MLAs strongly opposed the remark and on the request of BJP legislator Ranjeet Kumar Dass, Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami expunged Ahmed's remarks from the proceedings of the House.

Earlier during question hour, AGP MLA Prafulla Kumar Mahanta urged the House to adopt a resolution stating that March 24, 1971, should be the cut-off year for detection and deportation of illegal migrants from the state in accordance with the Assam Accord.

Mahanta said it is necessary to settle the debate on whether 1971 or 1951 should be the cut-off year.

Replying on behalf of Sonowal, who is also the minister for Assam Accord implementation, water resources minister Keshab Mahanta said he would discuss the matter with the leader of the House and the leaders of legislature parties.

BJP MLA Pijush Hazarika sought to know why and under what circumstances 1971 was made the cut-off year for Assam while it is 1951 for the rest of the country.