The Narendra Modi government has planned to detect and deport illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living in Assam, a longstanding demand of the state where unregulated immigration from the neighbouring country has triggered social and political unrest for decades.
The Union home ministry has presented a blueprint to the Supreme Court detailing the steps and deadlines to complete the task.
The apex court is hearing a PIL filed by Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha seeking a direction to the government to deport Bangladeshi nationals living illegally in the state and delete their names from electoral rolls.
The ministry’s affidavit follows Modi’s promise at a rally in Guwahati that his government would take necessary action to check illegal immigration from across the border. He asked people of Assam to support the exchange of enclaves with Bangladesh.
The BSF would identify the vulnerable patches or routes along the Indo-Bangladesh border by January 15 next year, states the affidavit filed by Ajay Kanoujia, director (Northeast).
“After identification of these vulnerable patches, security and vigilance will be strengthened at these points along the identified routes used for illegal infiltration.” Ministry figures state that over 4.6 lakh cases of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living in Assam have been referred to foreigners tribunals since 1986. Around 2.4 lakh cases are awaiting adjudication.
According to the proposal to identify, deport and prevent fresh immigration, 500 new police units or task force will be set up in Assam. Biometric details of Bangladeshi nationals declared illegal by the foreigners tribunals will be fed into a database so as to check repeat immigration.
A part of the measures is to fence the border but 102.4km of low-lying and hilly terrain are posing a hurdle. Officials said exchange of enclaves would help complete the stalled fencing work on patches of disputed land between the two countries.