Positive development

It is a positive development that the Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram has started talking tough on the problem of infiltration of foreign nationals to India but he must take bold steps to translate his words into reality to protect the interests of India and its indigenous people. The Union Home Minister recently assured an all party delegation of the Assam Legislative Assembly that the Centre would adopt a zero tolerance policy on the issue of illegal migration, which is a positive development because the Centre has finally realised the importance of adopting a tough stand to deal with the problem. The Centre must now act fast before it is too late to deal with the problem without allowing vote bank politics to come in the way or else the situation in Assam and other parts of North East may soon go out of control. The Government must expedite the process of sealing the border with Bangladesh and additional deployment of Border Security Personnel (BSF) should be made along the international border to prevent fresh infiltration. The process of detection and deportation of foreigners should be expedited by properly utilising the personnel of the Border Police wing and if required, the strength of the wing should be expedited. Only creation of additional tribunals under the provisions of the Foreigners’ Act will not expedite the process of detection and deportation of foreigners and adequate facilities should be provided to the tribunals to allow those to function properly. Only detection of foreigners will not solve the problem as deporting the persons declared as foreigners by the tribunals is a difficult task because of the fact that the Government of Bangladesh always refuses to accept those sought to be deported as its own citizens. The Centre must also take up the issue forcefully with the Government of the neighbouring country.Updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and providing identity cards to the Indian citizens on the basis of that are vital for detection of foreigners and for that also, the Centre will have to play a major role. The Centre must clear the modalities for updating the NRC as soon as possible and amend the Citizenship Act to enable the State Government to go ahead with the process. It is also a positive sign that setting aside political differences, members of all the parties of Assam having representatives in the State Assembly joined hands to put pressure on the Government of India to deal with the problem of infiltration of foreigners and to seal the international border. There was a time when the major political parties did not see eye to eye on the issue because of the fact that every party was keen on maintaining their traditional vote bank. But for the first time, all the major parties of Assam joined hands and the parties should also join hands in solving the other major problems concerning Assam including the problem of insurgency by setting aside their political differences. source: assam tribune editorial