Bangladeshi migrants: Assam NGO seeks Supreme Court intervention
GUWAHATI, FEBRUARY 25 (IANS): Alleging presence of names of illegal migrants in the Assam voters’ list, Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO, has sought the Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter.
Abhijeet Sharma, secretary of the APW, has moved a writ petition (civil) in the Supreme Court and appealed to the apex court for directing the Government of Assam to undertake the work related to upgradation of the of National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) 1951 after proper identification of those who settled in Assam, prior to March 25, 1971, along with their descendants as Indian citizens. The NGO had also demanded that the government must declare those persons who settled in Assam after March 24, 1971 as foreigners.
The northeastern state has been suffering from the problem of illegal influx from neighbouring Bangladesh. Various NGOs and pressure groups in the state had alleged that the ruling governments, particularly the Congress, had encouraged influx from Bangladesh to secure their “votebanks.” The state’s powerful students’ body, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), had led a six -year-long students’ movement from 1979 to 1985, aimed at identification and deportation of the illegal infiltrators who settled in Assam.
The movement known as Assam movement ended in 1985 after signing of the Assam Accord between the students’ body, the central government and the state government in 1985. These organizations have set March 25, 1971 (the day civil war in East Pakistan, which led to creation of Bangladesh, began) as the cut-off date to determine “foreign infiltrators” in Assam. The NGO, through the writ petition, has also called for direction to the Government of Assam to start the work for updation of the NRC immediately.
“It is believed that Assam’s voters’ list till to 2006 has 41 lakh excess voters (over and above normal growth of voters). It can be safely surmised that Assam’s voter’s list is saddled with names of lakhs of foreigners,” Sharma said. “The population growth trend between 2004 to 2006 in the state reflects that illegal immigrants have infiltrated into the whole state and enrolled their names in the voters’ list of the State,” he said adding that the electoral roll of Assam in 2011 polls are full of names of such “foreigners.”
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