Saturday, April 20, 2024
North East

Illegal foreigners not identified based on community: Assam CM

Himanta Biswa Sarma
File Pix

Guwahati, February 26: Illegal foreigners are not identified based on their community, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the state assembly on Monday.
He also said the government will pursue the issue with Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) for expeditious disposal of cases relating to ‘Doubtful’ (D) voters.
D-voters are those who could not provide evidence in favour of their Indian nationality. The concept of D-voters was introduced in Assam in 1997 by the Election Commission. It does not exist anywhere else in India.
Replying to a question by AIUDF legislator Karimuddin Borbhuyan, Sarma, who also holds the Home department, said there are 96,987 D-voters in the state.
He said 94,412 cases of D-voters are pending before the FTs, while 1,49,732 cases have been disposed by the tribunals till December 31, 2023.
On Borbhuyan’s query on what basis Gorkha community people from Nepal were exempted from being declared foreigners, Sarma said the state Cabinet had taken the decision as per an Indo-Nepal treaty.
“All cases against the Gorkhas have been withdrawn by the government from the FTs,” he said.
Sarma said the government does not keep records of which community a D-voter belongs to as ‘foreigners are not identified by their community’.
The CM also said the government will pursue with the FTs for further expeditious disposal of cases.
Responding to the AIUDF MLA’s question if more communities will be exempted when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) comes into force, Sarma said that though the Act has been passed, Rules are yet to be framed.
According to the CAA, the government will grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians — who had come to India till December 31, 2014.
The CAA was passed by the Parliament in 2019 but the law is yet to be implemented as rules under it have not been framed.
The rules for CAA will be issued before the coming Lok Sabha polls and the process to grant Indian nationality to the beneficiaries will start soon after, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said earlier this month. (PTI)