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Bangladeshis in Assam have become kingmakers: Court

Bangladeshis in Assam have become kingmakers: Court

Author: Sushanta Talukdar
Publication: The Hindu
Date: July 29, 2008
URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/07/29/stories/2008072960591400.htm

"Political will to free the State from illegal Bangladeshis, the need of the hour"

The Gauhati High Court has said that Bangladeshis in Assam had become the kingmakers and "a strong political will to free Assam from illegal Bangladeshi[s] is the need of the hour coupled with public activism in that direction."

In his 95-page judgment and order passed on Friday, Justice B.K Sharma directed the police to immediately take into custody 49 of the 61 petitioners, who were declared as 'foreigners' by the court, and to keep them in police custody till their deportation. The respective Superintendents of Police have been asked to furnish report about the implementation of the direction.

The judgment and order was passed by the court while disposing of a total of 23 petitions moved by 61 petitioners after they had been declared as foreigners by the respective Foreigners' Tribunals. The High Court upheld the tribunal judgments in most of the cases.
In voters' lists

"Till now, the petitioners have been successful in avoiding the proceedings against them as well as their deportation from India. In the process, they have incorporated their names in the voters' lists on the basis of which they must have cast their votes. Thus the petitioners and such other large number of Bangladeshis present in the State of Assam have a major role in electing the representatives both to the Legislative Assembly and Parliament and consequently, in the decision-making process towards building the nation. They have become the kingmakers," the judgment stated.

The court has asked the State Home Department and the Director-General of Police to furnish report on the action plan towards detection and deportation of foreign nationals from Assam. The State government was also directed to furnish report on the action plan and the time limit within which the names of illegal voters in various voters' list would be deleted. The court directed that all the reports be submitted on or before September 30.

Justice Sharma observed: "It is no longer a secret or in the domain of 'doubt' that illegal Bangladeshis have intruded every nook and corner of Assam, including forest land. In some of the cases, the petitioners themselves stated before the police during investigation that they were living in government and forest land. If reports are to be believed, they have even intruded upon the most sacred Xattra lands. Very often, they are protected by extending the protective lands of 'secularism' branding them to be Indian "minorities" in Assam. A strong political will to free Assam from illegal Bangladeshi[s] is the need of the hour coupled with public activism in that direction."

The court warned that if the phenomenon continues, "the day is not far off, when the indigenous people of Assam, both Hindus and Muslims and other religious groups will be reduced to minorities in their own land and the Bangladeshis who are freely and merrily moving around the fertile land of Assam, will intrude upon the corridors of power."

On the role of the Central and the State governments, the judgment and order stated that the foremost duty of the Central government was to defend the borders of the country, prevent any trespass and make the life of the citizens safe and secure. The State government was also equally responsible for taking effective measures to stop the unabated influx of Bangladeshi nationals to Assam threatening the very existence of the indigenous people in their own State. "Neither the Central government nor the State government can disown such solemn responsibilities, they being the protectors of the citizens."

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