GUWAHATI, May 25 � The new Government at the Centre must take effective steps to deal with the problem of infiltration of foreigners and special teams should be formed to detect foreign nationals, said former Governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Gen (Retd) SK Sinha.
Talking to The Assam Tribune today, a day before the new Government headed by Narendra Modi assumes office, Lt Gen Sinha said that over the years, no effective step was taken to deal with the problem of infiltration of foreigners and it is unfortunate that the fencing along the international border, construction of which started way back in the late 1980s, is yet to be completed. He said that effective steps must be taken to construct proper fencing along the border with Bangladesh and patrolling along the riverine international border should be intensified. Mobile outposts should be set up along the international riverine border.
Lt Gen Sinha, who sent a detailed report to the President of India way back in 1998 outlining the threat posed by illegal migration, said , �the problem can be solved if the recommendations that I gave in the report are implemented. But so far no Government took interest to look into the issue seriously.�
The former Governor said that though the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act was struck down by the Supreme Court, the Congress-led Government at the Centre tried to bring the Act through the back door by amending the provisions of the Foreigners� Act. This aspect should be looked into by the new Government, he said.
Lt Gen Sinha said that special teams of magistrates and police should be formed to identify the foreign nationals living in Assam. He admitted that at this moment, it might not be possible to deport the foreigners and steps should be taken to treat them as stateless citizens with no political right or the right to acquire properties. He pointed out that work permits should be given to the foreigners. The United States of America has adopted such a step with success, he pointed out.
When pointed out that the process of identification of foreigners in Assam remained very slow and more than three lakh cases are pending before the tribunals set up under the provisions of the Foreigners� Act, Lt Gen Sinha said that only setting up tribunals would not serve any purpose. Steps should be taken to activate the Tribunals, while, the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) should be expedited and photo identity cards should be issued to Indian citizens on the basis of it.