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Task forces to detect missing foreigners inoperative

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Aug 19 - Though task forces were set up in every district of Assam by the district police forces to detect the persons who are missing after they were declared as foreigners by the Tribunals set up under the provisions of the Foreigners� Act, most such forces are almost defunct now. On the other hand, reference of cases of suspected foreigners to the Tribunals has also slowed down considerably in the last few months.

Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the task forces were constituted following a video conference that the Chief Secretary held with the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police in the month of April this year as the Supreme Court had also expressed serious concern over the fact that majority of the persons declared as foreigners by the Tribunals were reportedly missing. Every district had around 15 to 20 such task forces headed by a sub inspector of police. The task forces started their job with seriousness and in some districts, a number of illegal migrants could be traced. But suddenly the process slowed down considerably and now the task forces are almost defunct.

The reasons for suspension of the operation to detect the missing foreigners are still not known and there is no official order on paper to stop such operation. However, no police officer is willing to divulge whether there is any verbal order to slow down the operation to detect the missing foreigners.

The process of referring cases against suspected foreigners to the Tribunals has also slowed down considerably in the last few months. Official sources said that the process slowed down because of the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and there is need for synergy between the concerned agencies including the office of the NRC State Coordinator�s office, border police and the Tribunals.

�If a person�s name is referred to the Tribunal and his or her name appears in the NRC, it may give rise to complications, � sources said. But on the other hand, as per law, name of any person, against whom a case is going on in a Foreigners� Tribunal, cannot be included in the NRC. Lack of proper coordination between the concerned agencies is making this issue confusing, sources admitted.

Sources also admitted that notices issued against suspects by the Tribunals should be served by the police personnel and that process also slowed down in some districts, which delayed disposal of the cases by the Tribunals.

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Task forces to detect missing foreigners inoperative

GUWAHATI, Aug 19 - Though task forces were set up in every district of Assam by the district police forces to detect the persons who are missing after they were declared as foreigners by the Tribunals set up under the provisions of the Foreigners� Act, most such forces are almost defunct now. On the other hand, reference of cases of suspected foreigners to the Tribunals has also slowed down considerably in the last few months.

Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the task forces were constituted following a video conference that the Chief Secretary held with the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police in the month of April this year as the Supreme Court had also expressed serious concern over the fact that majority of the persons declared as foreigners by the Tribunals were reportedly missing. Every district had around 15 to 20 such task forces headed by a sub inspector of police. The task forces started their job with seriousness and in some districts, a number of illegal migrants could be traced. But suddenly the process slowed down considerably and now the task forces are almost defunct.

The reasons for suspension of the operation to detect the missing foreigners are still not known and there is no official order on paper to stop such operation. However, no police officer is willing to divulge whether there is any verbal order to slow down the operation to detect the missing foreigners.

The process of referring cases against suspected foreigners to the Tribunals has also slowed down considerably in the last few months. Official sources said that the process slowed down because of the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and there is need for synergy between the concerned agencies including the office of the NRC State Coordinator�s office, border police and the Tribunals.

�If a person�s name is referred to the Tribunal and his or her name appears in the NRC, it may give rise to complications, � sources said. But on the other hand, as per law, name of any person, against whom a case is going on in a Foreigners� Tribunal, cannot be included in the NRC. Lack of proper coordination between the concerned agencies is making this issue confusing, sources admitted.

Sources also admitted that notices issued against suspects by the Tribunals should be served by the police personnel and that process also slowed down in some districts, which delayed disposal of the cases by the Tribunals.