1.13 lakh doubtful voters in Assam

About 97% of the 262 km border with Bangladesh has been sealed, says State Parliamentary Affairs Minister

Published - March 02, 2020 11:33 pm IST - GUWAHATI

File: Chandra Mohan Patowary

File: Chandra Mohan Patowary

The Assam government on Monday said there are more than 1.13 lakh doubtful voters or D-voters in the State, while six detention centres are currently holding 680 people declared as foreigners.

Speaking on behalf of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told the Assembly that 4,32,944 cases were registered against suspected foreigners between 1985 and 2019.

“After verification and trials, 1,26,998 people were declared foreigners, 1,18,367 were found to be Indians, and 29,890 were deported. At the last count, there were 1,13,738 D-voters in the State. Barpeta district leads the table with 17,227 D-voters followed by Sonitpur (16,437), Nagaon (9,828) and Dhubri (7,133),” he said.

He added that 221 of these D-voters, a category of electors struck out by the Election Commission, were being housed in the detention centres along with 680 declared foreigners (D-voters found to be non-citizens by Foreigners Tribunals).

NRC next step

The Assembly was told on Monday that the 19.06 lakh people excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be issued “rejection slips” after the “speaking orders” are scanned.

Mr. Patowary said about 12% of the speaking orders remain to be scanned. These orders were issued while processing the objections raised against the applicants during the updating process.

Assam’s NRC was updated from its 1951 version and documents of 3.3 crore applicants were processed. The complete draft of the citizens’ list was published on August 31, 2019.

The NRC exercise cost ₹1,348.1 crore, the Assembly was told.

On the issue of sealing the India-Bangladesh border that is believed to be behind Assam’s problem with illegal migrants, Mr. Patowary said only a 4.35 km stretch of the international boundary remains to be fenced. Assam shares a 262 km border with Bangladesh.

97% border fenced

“About 97% of the boundary is sealed. Bangladesh has objected to fencing the 4.35 km stretch in Karimganj district, so advanced technology is being employed there,” he said.

He added that the State government has requested the Centre to relocate people in eight villages that are outside the barbed-wire fence, erected 150 metres from the “no man’s land” or actual boundary line according to international norms.

Southern Assam’s Karimganj and Cachar districts have three villages each, while western Assam’s Dhubri has two villages outside the barbed-wire fence.

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