Guwahati : As the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is updated in Assam to identify the illegal immigrants, a large scale of illegal foreigners’ names are allegedly included in the electoral rolls in the state. 

Over 2.17 crore people of the state will exercise their franchise in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The Lok Sabha polls for 14 Parliamentary constituencies in Assam will be held on April 11, 18 and 23 in three phases.

Assam Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Chandra Sahu said that the people, who have been left out of the complete draft of NRC will be able to exercise their franchise in the election if their names figure in the electoral rolls.

While the NRC is updated in the state to identify the aliens, the names of over 40.7 lakh people did not figure in the complete draft of NRC, which was published on July 30 last.

The Supreme Court has directed the Union home ministry and NRC authorities to publish the final list by July 31 this year.

But, various organisations of the state have alleged that the names of a large number of illegal Bangladeshi in the state are present in the electoral rolls.

It is to be mentioned that the six-year long Assam Movement was started because of illegal migration.

In 1978, while Hiralal Patwari died, it was necessary to hold a by-election in the Mangaldoi Lok Sabha constituency to fill the seat.

During the election process, observers noticed that a large number of registered voters had grown dramatically.

All Assam Students Union (AASU) demanded to postpone the elections till the names of foreigners are deleted from the electoral rolls. In fact, the Assam movement had developed from there.

After six-year-long historical Assam movement, Assam Accord was signed between the All Assam Students Union (AASU), Union government and the Assam government on August 15, 1985, in the presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. According to the Assam Accord, foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971, shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law. Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.

Till January 2019, the Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam have declared 1,03,764 persons as illegal foreigners while the state government could deport only 29,829 persons.

The Assam government has admitted it in the Assembly during the last state Budget session.

According to the Assam government data, a total of 6,26,793 cases have been registered against the suspected foreigners and the Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam has declared 1,03,764 persons as illegal foreigners.

The state government has deported only 104 persons in the past three years.

The state government had deported 13 persons in 2016, 26 in 2017, 65 in 2018 and 26 in the first month of this year.

Now, the question raised is that if the Foreigners’ Tribunals of state have so far declared 1,03,764 persons as illegal foreigners and the government was able to deport only a small number among them, where have the other declared foreigners have gone.

Lurinjyoti Gogoi, general secretary of All Assam Students Union said that a large number of illegal foreigners’ names have been included in the electoral rolls and they had voted during the elections in the past too.

“It seems that the illegal foreigners will play a vital role in various constituencies in the state and it was proved in the earlier elections also. Even the Gauhati High Court in 2008, while observing how Bangladeshi nationals with their brute numbers have become ‘kingmakers’ in the state, had warned that the day is not far off ‘when the indigenous people of Assam, both Hindus and Muslims and other religious groups will be reduced to minorities in their own land, and the Bangladeshis, who are freely and merrily moving around the fertile land of Assam, will intrude upon the corridors of power,” Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.

The AASU leader further said that the government has totally failed to detect and deport the illegal foreigners living in Assam.

“All political parties have used the illegal foreigners issue as a political tool,” Gogoi said.

It is to be mentioned that, two years ago, Assam Police had issued an advertisement that over 38,000 declared illegal foreigners are missing.