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"No accurate data possible on illegal immigration," Centre to Supreme Court [Read Affidavit]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      12 December, 2023 02:27 PM      0 Comments

NEW DELHI: The Union Home Ministry has told the Supreme Court that it is not possible to collect accurate data on illegal migrants as they entered the country without valid travel documents in a clandestine and surreptitious manner.

“The detection, detention, and deportation of such illegally staying foreign nationals is a complex ongoing process,” an affidavit by Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs stated.

The affidavit was filed in reply to the apex court's questions raised on December 7 about details of the estimated inflow of illegal migrants to Assam and other north eastern states after March 25, 1971.

It said that 17861 persons who had come into Assam between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 were granted citizenship.

However, a total of 14346 foreigners were deported between 2017 and 2022, due to reasons like overstay, visa violation, illegal entry etc, the response said.

The affidavit said as many as 32,381 of those who entered the country between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 have been detected to be foreigners by an order of the Foreigners Tribunal under the Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 1964 till October 31, 2023.

The Union government also accused the West Bengal government of non cooperation on resolving the issue.

“West Bengal government follows a far slower, more complex Direct Land Purchase Policy even for national security projects such as border fencing. Due to the non- cooperation from state government regarding resolving various issues of Land Acquisition, considerable delays have occurred in acquiring the necessary land, thereby impeding the timely completion of fencing in West Bengal along Indo Bangladesh border which is a vital national security project," the affidavit said.

The Centre also claimed in order to secure the Indo Bangladesh Border in West Pengal, it has taken multi-pronged steps to complete the remaining length either by fence or by Technological Solutions.

"If the State of West Bengal cooperates in the acquiring and handing over the land for fencing, the central government shall complete the process of fencing without any delay," the affidavit said.

The Ministry has also sanctioned 301.254 kms, replacement or upgradation of New Design fence in West Bengal.

Out of this, 56.21 kms new design fence work is in progress and for remaining length tendering is in process, it pointed out.

A five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud has been seized with a batch of petitions on constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955, after signing of the Assam accord.  

On the court's query on border fencing, the affidavit stated that for the entire Indo-Bangladesh border, about 81.5% fence work has been completed in feasible length and about 28.2% of non-feasible gaps (riverine/nallah gaps etc in Assam and Tripura) have been covered by deploying technological solutions.

It pointed out Assam shared approximately 263 kms international border with Bangladesh. Out of which, about 210 kms has been covered by fence and remaining non-feasible length has been covered with technological solutions.

West Bengal shared about 2216.7 kms of border with Bangladesh, of which 78% of the border of feasible length is covered with a fence.

A feasible length of 435.504 kms remains to be covered by fence and about 286.35 kms is pending due to land acquisition, it pointed out.

[Read Affidavit]



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