Other States

52 Bangladeshis sent back from Assam

CRPF soldiers patrol a road ahead of the publication of the NRC final draft at Juria, Nagaon, on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The much-awaited complete draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), expected to take Assam a step closer to segregating genuine citizens from illegal migrants, will be published at 10 a.m. on Monday.

The complete draft, to decide the fate of 3.29 crore applicants including the 1.9 crore listed in the first draft published on December 31 last year, will be published online besides being displayed across 2,500 Nagarik Seva Kendras (NSKs) for NRC simultaneously.

On Sunday, Section 144 of the Cr.PC was imposed in seven ‘sensitive’ districts, restricting the movement of people in groups of more than four. Officials, however, said they do not foresee violence owing to assurances by the Centre and the State government that those who are left out of the complete draft would get opportunities to establish their citizenship.

The clamping of prohibitory orders coincided with the deportation of 52 Bangladeshis through the Mankachar sector on the Assam-Meghalaya-Bangladesh tri-junction.

These 52 were ‘convicted foreigners’ as opposed to ‘declared foreigners’ who are marked thus by Foreigners’ Tribunals after failing the citizenship test and lodged in any of six detention camps.

The convicted foreigners are also lodged in such camps, but they are self-declared aliens arrested for not having travel papers or for cross-border crimes.

52 Bangladeshis sent back from Assam
 

“The 52 we handed over to Bangladesh had entered the country illegally and were arrested over a period of time from different parts of the State,” Amrit Bhuyan, Superintendent of Police of South Salmara-Mankachar district, told The Hindu. The intruders were pushed back after the Guwahati-based office of the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh issued travel permits for them, officials said.

Historic document

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who held a meeting with leaders of all political parties seeking their cooperation for ensuring peace in the coming days, called the complete draft as a historic document. that will be the “armour of safety” for the people of Assam. He also allayed fears among a section of people, insisting “there is no need to panic as it is not the final NRC.”

“More than 55,000 officers and employees devoted time to prepare an error-free NRC and ensure the exercise monitored by the Supreme Court and guided by the Registrar General of India is a success. The publication of the complete draft will go a long way in achieving what an agitation (against illegal migrants from 1979-1985) almost four decades ago had sought to,” he said.

 

The NRC has been updated with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for citizenship as mandated by the Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year agitation.

Mr. Sonowal also appealed for restraint from all linguistic, religious and ethnic groups after the publication of the second draft “just as you did during and after the first draft.”

But precautionary measures and the deployment of 220 additional companies of central paramilitary forces comprising 22,000 personnel have betrayed apprehension about possible trouble.

Section 144 is now in force in 10 of Assam’s 33 districts, and the majority of them are Muslim-dominated.

It has been in force in some other areas, including Guwahati, for two months now.

“We have identified 22 sensitive locations in and around the city,” Hiren Chandra Nath, the City Commissioner of Police, said.

 

Intelligence inputs

Intelligence inputs gathered by the Army, asked to be on standby, indicate there could be agitations against the administration. Officials did not rule out the possibility of NSKs and certain government offices being attacked and vandalised.

Prateek Hajela, the NRC State Coordinator who devised the system for the first-ever exercise to update the 1951 NRC, said it could not be said at this juncture how many people would get left out of the complete draft.

“We will give two months from July 30 for such people to send their claims and objections,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 11:15:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/52-bangladeshis-sent-back-from-assam/article24547680.ece

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