GUWAHATI, Aug 10 – The process of detection of foreigners from Assam has not shown any improvement even after nearly 32 years of signing of the Assam Accord and in fact, the process slowed down drastically after a new system of deportation was introduced in 2013.
The records available with the State Government point to the sorry state of affairs as only two persons declared as foreigners by the Foreigners Tribunals could be pushed back during the period from March, 2013 to May this year, which turned the entire process of detection and deportation into a farce. However, during the same period, 67 convicted foreigners could be pushed back.
Official sources admitted before The Assam Tribune that the process of pushing back foreigners slowed down drastically after the new system of deportation came into effect. The process of pushing back foreigners was always difficult as the Government of Bangladesh refused to accept the persons sought to be pushed back as its citizens. The old system also had some other problems as there were instances when persons declared as foreigners were forcibly pushed back without any official records of formally handling them over to the Bangladesh authorities and they could re-enter India by taking advantage of the porous international border.
To deal with the problem, a new system was introduced in 2013, but that is a lengthy process and the process of pushing back foreigners slowed down even further. Giving details of the new system, sources revealed that under the present system, whenever a person is declared as an illegal migrant from Bangladesh, the Border Police Organisation writes to the State Government with the details of the person along with his or her original address in Bangladesh. The State Government, in turn, writes to the Government of India and the Ministry of External Affairs informs the details to the Bangladesh High Commission in India. The Bangladesh High Commission informs its Government, which verifies the original addresses of the persons sought to be deported and only after receiving clearance from the Government of Bangladesh, the persons are formally handed over to the Border Guards, Bangladesh. The system is a very lengthy one as all the formalities and verification by the Government of Bangladesh takes a very long time and the persons sought to be deported have to be kept in the detention camps. Sources admitted that to expedite the process of deportation of the persons declared as foreigners, the present system needs to be changed and the Centre must take up the issue with the Government of Bangladesh so that some faster mechanism can be evolved to deal with the problem.
However, it is easier to deport the Bangladeshi nationals who came to India with legal documents and stayed back after the expiry of the validity period of the visa. According to records available, 67 such persons were deported to Bangladesh after March, 2013.
Sources revealed that there are a number of instances where Bangladeshi nationals come to India with legal papers and stay back after the expiry of the visa term. Whenever such a person is caught, legal proceedings are initiated against him or her under the Passport Act and Foreigners’ Act. In most cases, such persons are convicted by the courts and after the expiry of the term of conviction, such persons can be pushed back without much hassle as they had already declared themselves as foreigners.
News Source Assam Tribune by R Dutta Choudhury