43 migrants deported in last 15 months: Centre

GUWAHATI: Illegal migrants have always been a cause of concern in Assam and during every election political parties make the issue their poll plank. And barely a month ahead of this year's assembly elections, the Centre has said Assam deported 43 illegal migrants to their "places of origin" in the last 15 months.

In a reply to Lok Sabha member Badaruddin Ajmal (AIUDF), Union minister for home affairs Mullapally Ramachandran said altogether 162 foreigners and illegal migrants were deported between December 2009 and February, while 43 persons were sent back to their "places of origin".

The minister added that the Assam government has set up three detention camps in Goalpara, Kokrajhar and Silchar "to keep the declared illegal migrants and foreigners in the state till they are deported". According to the state government's report, 2,354 declared foreigners have been deported to Bangladesh till the end of 2010.

Some organisations, including the All Assam Students' Union (Aasu), alleged that illegal migrants coming from Bangladesh have been living in Assam for decades and threatening the state's demography. Incidentally, Aasu had started the six-year agitation seeking detection and deportation of the illegal migrants from 1978 that ended in the signing of Assam Accord in 1985.

According to the organization, lakhs of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are still living in Assam whom the state government couldn't identify and deport during the last two decades. Aasu even accused the Congress government, encouraging illegal migrants for vote-bank politics. But despite the Assam Agitation, the issue continues to remain alive with the Centre unable to complete the fencing of the porous Indo-Bangla border.

In the Nineties, the government said IMDT Act stood as a hindrance in the detection and deportation of the foreigners. Even though, a judgment by the Supreme Court in 2007 withdrew the act and cleared the way for deportation of the illegal migrants in the state, the situation remained unchanged.