A total of 3,100 people declared and convicted as foreigners by tribunals in Assam have been deported since 2001, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the 126-member State Assembly on Monday.
A total of 224 such non-citizens — 154 males and 70 females — are currently being housed at a ‘transit camp’ at Matia in western Assam’s Goalpara district. This transit camp was opened on January 27 after the people declared non-citizens by Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) or quasi-judicial courts were shifted from six central jails across the State.
Replying to a set of questions from Raijor Dal MLA Akhil Gogoi, the Chief Minister — who also holds the Home portfolio — said a total of 1,31,649 people who entered Assam illegally were identified by the FTs as foreigners. Of these, 3,111 were deported.
According to the data provided, the rate of deportation (31%) was the highest in 2001 and lowest in 2018 at 0.24% although it was the year that clocked the detection of 26,823 people, the most to date.
Steps against people with doubtful citizenship are taken according to the Foreigners’ Act of 1946, the Foreigners (Tribunal) Order of 1964 and notifications issued by the Centre from time to time, Dr. Sarma said.
From Border Security Force (BSF) personnel on the (India-Bangladesh) border and Border Protection Grid and village survey by police, there are several layers for detecting and identifying suspected foreigners, he said.
Such people are then referred to the FTs, which adjudge their citizenship on the basis of documents provided or the lack of them.
Asked to provide data on the number of people deported after the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019, Dr. Sarma said the detection and deportation of foreigners living illegally in India were an ongoing process.
Also Read | Do we need a countrywide National Register of Citizens?
The complete draft of the NRC, published in August 2019, had left out 19.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants from the list of citizens.
“The NRC has not been finalised and the rules of the CAA have not been framed yet,” he said.
The Chief Minister also cited data provided by the State’s inspector general of prisons to underline the expenditure on maintaining the transit camp for declared foreigners.
“Since January 27, the government has spent ₹35,43,750 on the transit camp,” he said.