Illegal migration in Assam and the Northeast , PART – II
Chinmoy Kumar Sarma Baruah
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o demonstrate support to the il legal migrants, central Govern ment amended the rules under Foreigners Act and enacted a new set of rules the Foreigners (Tribunal for Assam) order, 2006 whereby the burden of proof of establishing whether a person is or not a foreigners was again put on the Tribunal and the officers and not upon such foreigners, deliberately seeking to undermine the impact of the judgment of 12th July, 2005.
However, this order was yet again challenged before the Supreme Court which again set aside the orders along with the amended rules which sought to aid foreigners continued to stay in Assam. The Supreme Court observed as Follows : “65. It appears that the 2006 orders has been issued just as a cover up for non–implementation of the directions of this Court issued in Sonowal’s case. The order of 2006, in our views, is clearly unnecessary in the light of the 1946 Act and the orders made there and the directions issued in Sonowal’s case. It does not serve the purpose sought to be achieved by the 1946 Act or the Citizenship Act and the obligation cast on the Central Government to protect the nation in terms of Article 355 of the Constitution of India highlighted in Sonowal’s case. We have also earlier struck down the repeal of the 1964 order as regards Assam. The 2006 order is therefore found to be unreasonable and issued in an arbitrary exercise of power. It requires to be quashed or declared invalid.The illegal migrants typically settle in reserve forests and in Government land. Information from the Ministry of Minority Affairs of the Central Government discloses that border districts in Assam are beneficial of minority development programs. It is a common facts that indigenous Muslims who comprise 6.5 percent of the population and are concentrated largely in the upper Assam districts like Dibrugarh, Sivasahgar, Jorhat etc. have been ignored when it comes to receiving bwnwfits that are given to the minorities. Thirteen districts namely Barpeta, Kamrup, Darrang, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Dhubri, Morigaon, Nagaon, Karimganj, Cachar, Hailakandi, Kokrajhar and N.C. Hills have been identified for the purpose of giving benefits for period ending 30th September, 2012under the Multi Sect oral Development programme.
The strength of the foreigners is derived from their presence in the electoral rolls as well as their ability to move unhindered under the protection of the State Government. Because of their presence in the electoral rolls, which makes them valuable to politicians, it is important therefore, not only to proceed against them for deportation under the Foreigners Act, 1946 but also simultaneously seek the deletion of their names from the electoral. Today, the people of Assam are faced with a situation that in spite of clear admission of the number of foreigners in Assam, the State Government and the Chief Minister denies the presence of even one foreigner in the State.
The two simple and effective modes by which every individual citizen can act–
(a) The electoral rolls can be inspected by any person as they are made available online for public use by every State Election Commission and such inspection is a right of every citizen under representation of the People Act, 1950. The electoral rolls for Assam are available on the internet/website of Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, the website address being ceoassam.nic.in. On the left hand column of the website there is an entry “PDF Electoral Rolls”. Clicking on this entry leads to different polling booths in each district. While the internet site is in English, the electoral rolls are in the Assamese language. It is therefore, very simple for any electoral/voter whose name is in the same polling booth/station to file an objection against any person suspected to be a foreigner and whose name has been entered into voters list. For detection of a foreigner in the electoral rolls, the Election Commission providers an objection under Form–7 (Under THE REGISTRATION OF ELECTORS RULES, 1960). The form prescribed the manners in which an objection can be preferred before the Electoral registration officer. This form is also available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer. On the left hand side of the website there is an entry which says FORMS in English, clicking on this icon leads to FORM–7 Assamese, Bengali and
(b) The Foreigners Act, 1946 under Section 9 provides for detection and deportation of a foreigner and it is upon such a foreigner to prove that he is not one. To lodge a complaint against a foreigner all that is required is to prefer a short complaint in the prescribed form to the closest police station. The format for making a complaint is provided under the Code of Criminal procedure.
(Concluded Part 1
featured on May 4,issue)
Courtesy: The Sentinel