GUWAHATI, April 23 � Pulling up the Government, administration, and the police for their ineffective role in detention of declared illegal Bangladeshi migrants, the Gauhati High Court has issued direction to all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Superintendents of Police (SPs) to take prompt action for detention and deportation of Bangladeshi nationals illegally staying in Assam.
�Once a person is declared to be an illegal Bangladeshi national, he should be immediately arrested and kept in a detention camp and thereafter deported. Immediate steps should also be taken for deletion of his/her name from the voter list,� the court said in its order on Thursday while dismissing a writ petition filed by four petitioners declared as illegal Bangladeshi migrants by the then Illegal Migrants (D) Tribunal, Hojai on June 17, 2005.
The court also asked the SPs to ensure that declared illegal migrants cannot do the vanishing act.
�Although the impugned judgement and order was passed six years back, the district/police administration did nothing to arrest the petitioners for their detention and deportation to Bangladesh�if this is the approach of the administration, the dangerous consequence can well be imagined; the whole approach seems to be the endeavour to protect the interest of the illegal migrants rather than the indigenous people of Assam, no matter if in the process they become minority in their own State,� the court observed.
Expressing concern over the failure of the authorities concerned to delete the names of declared illegal migrants from the voter list unless specific direction is issued by the court, the court said that the �two authorities and their delegates will keep in mind their constitutional duties and obligations and that their failure to discharge the same, may entail appropriate action.�
The court was also �constrained� to observe the long delay in the judicial process for determining the citizenship status of suspected illegal Bangladeshi migrants, noting that in the instant case it took 20 years and 76 dates from March 20, 1991 to June 17, 2005 to declare the petitioners as illegal migrants, with the petitioners being mostly absent in the proceedings.
�If this is the manner and method in which such an important matter is dealt with by the Tribunal, the very purpose of establishing the Tribunal gets frustrated,� the court said, adding that during the long 20 years the migrants not only cast their votes in Assembly and Parliamentary elections but also got their names included in the 1977 voter list at a time when the proceedings were pending in the tribunal.
On the writ petition, the court order given by Justice BK Sharma noted that the petitioners sought to corroborate their claim to be Indian citizens by birth only by producing some photocopies of voter lists, but there had been serious discrepancies concerning the names and ages of the petitioners and their fathers and grandfathers in the different voter lists. �As to how such variation could take place, there is no explanation in the writ petition...if the petitioners are Indian citizens by birth, they could have easily disclosed the material particulars, which they miserably failed to do. Not only that, they did not even state about their place of birth,� it said.