Even as the conflict between Bodos and alleged Bangladeshi immigrants continues in Assam, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that it would not be possible to delete the names of doubtful voters on the basis of their religious or linguistic profiles.
It also denied allegations made by an NGO that over 40 lakh illegal migrants from Bangladesh had managed to get their names entered into the electoral rolls. Responding to a public interest litigation filed by Assam Public Works, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) filed an affidavit before the apex court – stating that acting in accordance with the petitioner’s prayer would be unconstitutional. The petitioner had also sought the deportation of illegal migrants, whose names were entered into the voters’ list.
The affidavit was placed before a bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and November 6 was fixed as the date for hearing the matter further. In the document, the Centre also promised to “weed out illegal migrants” from the state.
“That the proposed modality suggested by the petitioner NGO to identify and delete alleged doubtful voters from the voter list 2006, based on religious and linguistic profiling, is prima facie illegal, arbitrary and a violation of the secular and democratic fabric of lndia,” the MHA’s affidavit read.
The Centre, on the other hand, said it has developed a system to identify doubtful voters by listing their names in Category D, disallowing them from voting and standing for elections. The Centre denied the NGO’s claim that the abnormal growth in electoral rolls implied that it contained the names of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, calling it “presumptuous”.
It said efforts were on to curb illegal infiltration, and the BSF has been equipped with modern equipment for this purpose.