Assam gears up for post-NRC ‘crisis’

Assam gears up for post-NRC ‘crisis’

IPS officer Anand Prakash Tiwari has been appointed as nodal officer of the project, named e-FT Mission.

The Assam government is taking several steps to tackle the post-NRC 'crisis' with new detention centres, increased number of foreigner tribunals and empowering them with a digital database of foreigner-related cases.

The Centre recently empowered the foreigner tribunals to deal with the cases of those who miss the final NRC, which is slated for release on July 31. Those declared foreigners by the tribunals will be lodged in a detention centre, during which they would be able to challenge the tribunal's order in Gauhati High Court.

At present, there are 100 foreigner tribunals, a quasi-judicial body set up under the Foreigners Act 1946. the state government wants to set up another 1,000 such tribunals for quick disposal of the cases after the release of the final NRC.

The state government has also recently 'relaxed' the eligibility criteria for appointment of members of the tribunals.

A digital database of those failing to prove their citizenship during the NRC exercise would also be made available to the tribunals, border police and the related agencies to bridge the information gap.

IPS officer Anand Prakash Tiwari has been appointed as nodal officer of the project, named e-FT Mission. "This new IT system will not only strengthen the judiciary in efficient disposal of the cases but also help police organizations in faster detection, prosecution and detention/deportation," Tiwari told DH.

Nearly 1,000 declared foreigners are now lodged in six detention centres inside jails in Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Silchar and a new one is being constructed at Goalpara with capacity to detain 3,000 declared foreigners. 

Over 40 lakh of total 3.29 crore applicants missed the draft of the NRC, which is being updated with March 24, 1971 as the final cut-off. Over 38.2 lakh dropouts have filed claims seeking inclusion in the NRC, which is being updated under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

"Since we don't have a deportation treaty with Bangladesh, a crisis-like situation will arise once the final NRC is released on July 31. So the state government is making all efforts to enhance the capacity to handle the situation more efficiently and carefully," an official said. 

The Assam government told the state Assembly in February this year that less than 35% of the 1,03764 persons, who were declared foreigners by tribunals since 1985, have been repatriated to neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar so far. Over four lakh cases related to suspected illegal migrants are pending in tribunals at present.