Dimapur, August 18: The Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) representing civil society organizations, tribal hohos, NGOs, and pressure groups of Nagaland formed under the aegis of the Nagaland Tribes Council has appealed to the Government of Nagaland to set up comprehensive mechanism for effective implementation of BEFR Act, 1873, Foreigners Act, 1946 and other relevant laws to curb illegal influx into Nagaland.
In a representation to the Chief Secretary of Nagaland, the JCPI stated that the most impending danger being faced by the State at the very moment is the threat posed by the 40 lakhs people of Assam of doubtful origin whose future remains uncertain as they are deemed to be illegal citizens and aliens as per the ongoing NRC exercise.
“As and when the final NRC draft is released before the end of the year, it is almost certain that there will be a massive backlash from those who have failed to register their names in the NRC. In short, if these people cannot prove their citizenship in Assam, they very well can choose to become ‘citizens’ of other states, including Nagaland, and lay claim to Indian citizenship through prevalent legal loopholes if the governments are complacent and not prepared to treat this issue seriously,” it said.
The representation pointed out that the Nagaland Government is still very complacent with regard to preventive mechanisms on entry of illegal people into the State and in the identification of illegal settlers already in the State.
In fact, the JCPI said it is dismayed at the lackadaisical attitude of the State Government whereas comprehensive mechanisms and strategies to tackle illegal immigration as to protect and safeguard the interest of the indigenous people of the State should have been ready and at hand.
The JCPI urged the State Government to create a separate cell or a separate department altogether under Home Department which should be competent enough to monitor strict enforcement of BEFR Act of 1873 and Foreigners Act of 1946 on day to day basis. For the purpose of effective enforcement of the existing laws to the desired level, it said the Government must boost the morale of law enforcement agencies through proper training and reorient these agencies with legal strategies.
The JCPI also urged the State Government to extend BEFR, 1873, coverage to the entire administrative jurisdiction of the State of Nagaland, specifically Dimapur, which it said should be placed within the purview of BEFR, 1873/ILP.
“As long as Dimapur District is kept as an ILP free zone, it will remain as the feeder district for influx of illegal immigrants into interior areas,” it said.
The representation also urged the State Government to strengthen the implementation of ILP as prevailing now and issue operational guidelines immediately. For instance, it said an ILP holder staying in an ILP zone cannot renew his permit after the expiry of the permit without he/she moving out of the ILP zone first. Again, the ILP should differentiate between tourist, transit passengers, and manual/skilled labourers.
In any case, issuance/renewal of permit should be strict and time bound, it said.
The JCPI also urged the Government to notify the village councils and urban wards/colonies to assist the State machineries and enforce BEFR Act particularly in the border and vulnerable areas, and to maintain strict vigil and keep their respective jurisdiction on 24×7 alarms. It said the State authority should issue notifications instructing the village authorities and GBs/licensing authorities such as RTAs and municipal/town committees not to issue residential certificates/permanent resident certificate/driving license/trade license to anyone without establishing the antecedents of such applicants.
“For instance, license seekers from Assam will have to produce their NRC registration to avail licenses of any kind. The notification should also direct all concerned departments dealing with licensing to review all past issuance of licenses in order to weed out potential infiltrators,” it suggested.
The JCPI also urged the State Government to tie up with neighbour States to formulate cohesive and collective measures for prevention of inter-State influx of illegal immigrants. Further it impressed upon the State Government to establish Foreigner Tribunals under The Foreigners (Tribunals) Orders, 1964 and Foreigners Act, 1946, Government of India without which the coverage and the legal system for effective enforcement of the laws will always be found wanting. (Page News Service)