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Report No. 175

6. Report of the Governor of Assam on Illegal Migration

6.1 Recently, on 8 November, 1998 the Governor of Assam, taking into account the dangers posed by the continuing silent "demographic invasion" due to large scale illegal migration from Bangladesh and after having discussed the problem with a cross-section of people in Assam, as also the Indian High Commissioner at Dhaka, submitted his report to the President of India titled "Report on Illegal Migration into Assam". The report has traced the history of migration from Bangladesh, took into consideration the present realities and made recommendations for future strategy to tackle the menace in an effective manner.

6.2 The Governor has especially highlighted, in the report, the dangerous dimensions of the unprecedented migration of Bangladesh to Assam and drew the attention of the centre to the security threats to the North-Eastern region arising out of such migration as also of the strategic and economic consequences flowing from the same.

6.3 He has also pointed out the failure of the IMDT Act in identifying such migrants as also of the Assam Accord to drive them out of Assam. As regards the IMDT Act, he has noted that crores of rupees had been spent on identification fo11owed by a meagre figure of deportation and found continuation of the said Act as a wastefu1 exercise.

6.4 Recommendations: Apart from recommending an improved border management including fencing. Lighting, registration of country boats plying in the border rivers, adequate speed boats for the riverine sector and Bocio-economic development of Bangladesh aiming particularly at the improvement of women's lot, the report of the Governor of Assam (supra) recommends the following measures:

(i) Promotion of awareness about the illegal migration to Assam being not only a threat to the identity of local people but also a grave threat to our national security.

(ii) Provision of multipurpose photo-identity cards to all Indian nationa1s giving top priority to the border districts.

(iii) Provision for the registration of births and deaths and its scruplous implementation.

(iv) Provision for the National Register of citizens, updated and computerised and maintenance of a separate register of state less persons.

(v) Making of maximum efforts to stem the tide of iiiegaj migrants hereinafter and deportation of those who came after 24 March 1971 till date.

(vi) Repeal of the IMDT Act, which has proved to be an exercise in futility.

(vii) The deportation of mi11ions of Bangladeshis illegally staying in India is no more a practical proposition because unilateral action on the part of India cannot alone achieve any result. A new legislation is, therefore, needed to ensure a just, fair, practice and expeditious approach to the detection of illegal migrants and to declare them as stateless persons without voting rights and without right to acquire immovable property.

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