Hazarika Commission submits report to Supreme Court on illegal Bangladeshi migrants

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A one-man commission, set up by the Supreme Court on the Indo-Bangladesh boundary issue, has recommended that a high-powered committee enquire into various issues relating to illegal migrants. Senior Advocate Upamanyu Hazarika, who was appointed by the court in May, has submitted the 53-page report also suggesting the shifting of cattle ‘haats’ 20km away from the boundary area and re-location of the villages from the border fencing area. Hazarika submitted the report, after extensively visiting the border area.

Citing the causes leading to such an influx in Assam, the report said that a Bangladeshi passport holder can not only own land in Assam but can also contest Assembly elections, which shows that the illegal migrant lobby has struck deep roots in the state. Therefore, the necessity, for an independent investigation and an enquiry into these nexuses and all the facts in this regard, cannot be overstated. “Setting up of an independent inquiry/ investigation into the manner in which illegal migrants entrench themselves in the state, including unearthing of nexuses in this connection, examining electoral rolls for unnatural increase and growth in population, including entry of new households/ individuals into the electoral roll suddenly….” The Hazarika Commission further suggested that there should be a restriction in the transfer of land – whether by way of sale, purchase, gift or any other such transaction, or by way of allotment from the government or any other agency – only to those who have been citizens of India in the year 1951 and their descendants.

 In addition, the recommendations included creation of a ‘sterile zone’ along the Indo-Bangladesh border. Although the operational agency guarding the border on the ground is clearly in favour of the creation of a sterile zone, a policy decision from the Central and state government is still awaited. In the last two months, neither government has intimated its views in this regard and the Supreme Court may ascertain the same, the report stated. The Commission has also called for review of the ‘Non-Lethal Policy’ of the BSF, as it is obvious that this policy is for reducing the number of death of smugglers, which translates to encouraging miscreants and smugglers. It is suggested that the Supreme Court may ascertain the view of the Ministry of Home Affairs as also the implication of following a non-lethal policy.

About the problem of cattle smuggling, the report said that it has shown a phenomenal increase this year and over the last few years, and it is therefore imperative that the cattle haats be shifted, customs impound the centre on the international border and there be a system of ascertaining credentials of auction and purchasers which ought to be implemented immediately.

The Supreme Court, which is hearing a plea about the imminent threat of the indigenous population of Assam being reduced to a minority by the year 2047, is to take a call on the report on November 5.

Unearthing nexuses
Citing the causes leading to such an influx in Assam, the report said that a Bangladeshi passport holder can not only own land in Assam but can also contest Assembly elections, which shows that the illegal migrant lobby has struck deep roots in the state. Therefore, the necessity, for an independent investigation and an enquiry into these nexuses and all the facts in this regard, cannot be overstated.

SOURCE : DNA

 

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