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SC, HC have expressed concern over illegal immigration

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Sept 20 - Over the years, the Supreme Court and Gauhati High Court have been expressing concern over the threat posed to indigenous people of Assam by illegal migration while, the Committee for Protection of Land Rights of Indigenous People of Assam has expressed the view that illegal migration is the greatest threat to the security and identity of the indigenous people of the State. Such migrants are grabbing government and other land with active support of a section of fundamentalist and political leaders.

The Gauhati High Court had pointed out a case where a Pakistani national, who entered Assam through Bangladesh, even managed to contest the elections from the State. The Supreme Court, while scraping the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, opined that Assam was facing external aggression and internal disturbance due to large scale migration of Bangladeshi nationals.

The Gauhati High Court, in an order in 2008, observed that one Md Kamaruddin managed to enter Assam from Pakistan through Bangladesh. He could manage not only to roam around in Indian soil freely but also contested the 1996 elections from Jamunamukh Assembly constituency. The person was in possession of a passport issued by the Government of Pakistan, on the strength of which, he travelled to Dhaka from where he managed to sneak into Assam and contested the elections. �This can happen only in Assam� was the observation of the High Court. This also proved that illegal migrants managed to get their names enrolled in the voters� lists of the state.

The High Court also pointed out that large number of Bangladeshi nationals staying in Assam play a major role in electing the representatives of both Legislative Assembly and Parliament. They have become king makers. If this phenomenon continues, the day is not far when the indigenous people, both Hindus and Muslims and other religious groups will be reduced to minorities in their own land and the Bangladeshis, who are freely and merrily roaming around the fertile land of Assam, will intrude upon the corridors of power.

Unfortunately, despite such warnings by the Supreme Court and the Gauhati High Court , the Governments at Delhi and Dispur failed to take effective measures to deal with the problem of infiltration and the recent report of the Committee for Protection of Land Rights of the Indigenous People of Assam has sounded another warning signal for the Government. Now it remains to be seen whether the Central and State Governments manage to take immediate effective steps to deal with the problem.

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