Centre working on strategy to tackle influx

NEW DELHI, JUL 18 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/19/2018 12:06:45 AM IST
As the process of deportation of foreigners remains a very slow one, a proposal to strip the persons declared as foreigners of their citizenship and providing them with biometric long term work permits is under serious consideration of the Centre. At the same time, the Government is examining the feasibility of using all available technology to improve guarding of the international border to check fresh infiltration.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said here that deportation of the persons declared as foreigners by the Foreigners’ Tribunals is a very slow process as the Government of Bangladesh need to accept them as its citizens. 
As per the present process of deportation, whenever a person is declared as a foreigner by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in Assam, the name of the person along with details of original address of the person is sent to the Home Ministry, which in turn, sends the same to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). 
The MEA takes up the matter with the Government of Bangladesh and very often, the Government of the neighbouring country seeks more details about the concerned person. In this process, it takes months to push back a person to Bangladesh and the neighbouring country’s action of seeking more and more details also creates problems for India. Moreover, keeping the persons declared as foreigners in the detention camps would also become a problem if the number keeps growing.
Sources pointed out that as Bangladesh is a sovereign country, India cannot force it to accept the verdict of the Foreigners’ Tribunals, while, it is impossible to forcibly push back large number of people as it would create serious problems for India among the international community. Though some organizations including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) are demanding that India should try to sign a push back treaty with Bangladesh, MHA sources said that merely signing of such a treaty would not solve the problem as the neighbouring country would have to accept the persons sought to be push back as its citizens.
MHA sources said that the Government of India has been trying to put political and diplomatic pressure on Bangladesh to expedite the process of deportation of Bangladeshi nationals caught in India. “But India cannot force Bangladesh to accept such persons and with the Government of Bangladesh is in election mode at present, no immediate solution to the problem is in sight,” sources admitted.
Under the circumstances, the Government is seriously considering the proposal to provide work permits to the foreigners. As per the proposal, efforts would be made to expedite the process of detection of foreigners and till they are deported, they would be stripped of citizenship. They would be given long term work permits but they would have no political rights and they would not be allowed to buy immovable property. The work permits would be biometric ones so that it would be easier to detect them later whenever necessary.
It may be mentioned here that way back in 1998, the then Governor of Assam, Lt Gen (Retd) SK Sinha, in a report to the President of India, had made such a suggestion and pointed out that if the foreigners living in Assam are denied of political rights, they would stop getting political patronage.

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