Assam deportations to be data-driven

State of flux:NRC officials checking documents of residents during a hearing in Dhubri, Assam, in this file photo.AFPBIJU BORO

State of flux:NRC officials checking documents of residents during a hearing in Dhubri, Assam, in this file photo.AFPBIJU BORO  

The Union government is enabling a platform to digitise records of all persons who will be declared foreigners by the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) in Assam after the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) is published later this month.

The E-Foreigners Tribunals (e-FTs) will store biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scans of such persons, and help the External Affairs Ministry expedite deportation in appropriate cases by reducing paperwork.

Including 1985 records

A senior government official said the platform would not only include data on fresh cases that will come up for hearing after the final NRC is published but also digitise records dating back to 1985.

“The FTs first came up in 1985. The details of persons declared foreigners all these years will also be available on e-FT. The centralised details would [for example] help the Ministry take up the deportation process of a foreigner staying here illegally, to the country concerned without getting embroiled in unnecessary paperwork through multiple agencies,” the official said.

Till February 28, 63,959 persons were declared foreigners through ex parte proceedings by the FTs in Assam, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

“The implementation of e-FT approved by the Centre is in progress. The basic aim is to integrate all nodes in the ecosystem, including FTs, NRC and border police,” Assam Home Commissioner and Secretary Ashutosh Agnihotri told The Hindu .

Mr. Agnihotri handles the Department of Implementation of Assam Accord, which was signed in August 1985. This accord prescribed midnight of March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for detection, detention and deportation of illegal migrants.

The border police, or the Assam Police Border Organisation, was formed in 1962 under the Prevention of Infiltration of Pakistanis scheme. The scheme was renamed Prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners after the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

The proposed integrated e-FT system will be implemented across Assam for effective monitoring and resolution of cases registered with the FTs. The Centre has approved increasing the number of FTs from the current 100 to 1,000. Of these, 400 are to be in operation by July 31, the last date for publishing the final NRC list in Assam.

To assist judiciary

The expected benefits of e-FT, officials said, include strengthening the judiciary in the disposal of cases and help the police in more accurate and faster detection, prosecution and detention.

Even after the final NRC is published, those excluded will have legal options to challenge the decision first in FTs and also in the High Courts.

“We are recording the biometrics of those who have filed claims and the UIDAI is storing it in its server,” the official said.

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