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Victims of circumstances in foreigner deportation process

By SANJOY RAY
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GUWAHATI, Feb 25 - Like most girls, life has found a new meaning for Shabana (name changed) after she got married at the age of 22 years. A year after her marriage in 2012, she even gave birth to a child and everything was falling at just the right places. But then destiny seemed to have some other plans for her.

Little did she know that the man she got married to was an Afghanistan national staying illegally in Assam (India). Now, while the Union Government has been asked by the Gauhati High Court to deport Sarowar Khan to Afghanistan, uncertainty looms large over the fate of Shabana and her child.

The plight of Shabana is not a one-off incident though. Agencies responsible for detection and deportation of illegal foreigners have over the years stumbled upon a number of such cases across the State, especially those involving illegal Bangladeshi nationals.

This has now become one of the �contentious� issues concerning the detection and deportation process, and the law, experts believe, has reportedly not come up with a clear take on the issue as yet. Neither has the government.

�This is a very sensitive issue from the humanitarian angle and there are certainly a lot of unanswered questions as far as the fate of the (Indian) wife and her child is concerned,� believes a senior Guwahati-based lawyer not wishing to be named.

�What happens to the wife, who is an Indian, once her husband is detected and deported? Should not there be a comprehensive relief or rehabilitation package to bail out such victims of circumstances? What would be the locus standi of the child born out of them?� he questioned.

�What about the role of the institutions which had registered such marriages is another crucial point to ponder over?� believes a senior official of the Border Police.

Assistant Solicitor General SC Keyal, who also represents the Centre in the special bench (High Court) formed to monitor the functioning of Foreigners� Tribunals in the State, when contacted, said, �The law says that if either of the parents is declared an illegal migrant, the child born out of them would not be an Indian citizen. The illegal migrant, however, will have to be deported and his movements will be restricted (in detention camps) till he is deported... There are no laid down provisions as far as rehabilitation or relief is concerned.�

A senior Assam Police official says there is no clarity on the issue. �Yes, there does not seem to be any clarity on the issue. We have quite a few such cases. Compilation of a comprehensive data of such cases would be intriguing, and should help in rehabilitating the victims, if the government feels so.

�Our responsibility ends with detection and arrest of the accused. It is certainly a humanitarian issue, which needs to be looked into,� the police official opined.

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Victims of circumstances in foreigner deportation process

GUWAHATI, Feb 25 - Like most girls, life has found a new meaning for Shabana (name changed) after she got married at the age of 22 years. A year after her marriage in 2012, she even gave birth to a child and everything was falling at just the right places. But then destiny seemed to have some other plans for her.

Little did she know that the man she got married to was an Afghanistan national staying illegally in Assam (India). Now, while the Union Government has been asked by the Gauhati High Court to deport Sarowar Khan to Afghanistan, uncertainty looms large over the fate of Shabana and her child.

The plight of Shabana is not a one-off incident though. Agencies responsible for detection and deportation of illegal foreigners have over the years stumbled upon a number of such cases across the State, especially those involving illegal Bangladeshi nationals.

This has now become one of the �contentious� issues concerning the detection and deportation process, and the law, experts believe, has reportedly not come up with a clear take on the issue as yet. Neither has the government.

�This is a very sensitive issue from the humanitarian angle and there are certainly a lot of unanswered questions as far as the fate of the (Indian) wife and her child is concerned,� believes a senior Guwahati-based lawyer not wishing to be named.

�What happens to the wife, who is an Indian, once her husband is detected and deported? Should not there be a comprehensive relief or rehabilitation package to bail out such victims of circumstances? What would be the locus standi of the child born out of them?� he questioned.

�What about the role of the institutions which had registered such marriages is another crucial point to ponder over?� believes a senior official of the Border Police.

Assistant Solicitor General SC Keyal, who also represents the Centre in the special bench (High Court) formed to monitor the functioning of Foreigners� Tribunals in the State, when contacted, said, �The law says that if either of the parents is declared an illegal migrant, the child born out of them would not be an Indian citizen. The illegal migrant, however, will have to be deported and his movements will be restricted (in detention camps) till he is deported... There are no laid down provisions as far as rehabilitation or relief is concerned.�

A senior Assam Police official says there is no clarity on the issue. �Yes, there does not seem to be any clarity on the issue. We have quite a few such cases. Compilation of a comprehensive data of such cases would be intriguing, and should help in rehabilitating the victims, if the government feels so.

�Our responsibility ends with detection and arrest of the accused. It is certainly a humanitarian issue, which needs to be looked into,� the police official opined.