Hazarika Commission on Illegal Migrants

IAS Prelims 2023

A one-man Commission report to the Supreme Court on Indo-Bangladesh boundary has revealed some important findings pertaining to illegal migration from Bangladesh to Assam, which might pose a big threat to the state’s indigenous population reducing it to a minority by the year 2047.

In May this year, Supreme Court set up a Commission to visit the Indo-Bangla Border running through the length of the State of Assam, following a petition filed against issues concerning illegal migration, border fencing, construction of border roads, etc.

The court appointed Senior Advocate Upamanyu Hazarika as the Commissioner. The Commission submitted its report on October 5 to the Court and has recommended that the apex court order a high-powered inquiry into all issues.

The Court has directed both the Central and Assam governments to respond to the recommendations within four weeks for hearing on November 5.

Hazarika Commission Main Findings:

According to the final supplementary report by Supreme Court Commissioner Upamanyu Hazarika, there is an “established institutionalised mechanism” which enables a Bangladeshi national to freely come into the country, acquire citizenship and voting rights and a large scale racket of fake certificates is involved.

The racket “is carried out with the aid and connivance of government personnel” and no offender is brought to book.

“There is one significant fact which emerges from the fact finding undertaken since May 2015 and resulting in the four reports, including the present one, and which is that there is an established institutionalised mechanism which enables a Bangladeshi national to freely come into the country, acquire citizenship rights and more importantly voting rights, which is where their strength lies”.

“Fact that it is a porous border (admitted by both the governments), no verification of any person being enrolled as a voter, no verification of any person getting rights over land, rather settling as an encroacher upon government land, forest land and grazing reserves and subsequently conferred land rights with procurement of fake certification being the norm”.

“As noted by Gauhati High Court even when such fake certification is detected with great difficulty, no offender who participated in this process is brought to book.”

“The confidence which a Bangladeshi national has in his or her ability to establish themselves illegally in India can be understood from Gauhati High Court orders”.

The report said Gauhati High Court judgements in the recent past throw light on various nexuses prevalent within the government in providing fake certifications to foreigners not tackled by the government.

It also showed how a declared foreigner deported to Bangladesh, returns and files a writ petition in High Court to which Government does not file a response for as many as six years.

“This demonstrate the confidence of the Bangladeshi national has in the Indian system to protect his interest.

“It is obvious and apparent from the above judgments that there is a large scale racket in procurement of fake certificates and which is carried out with the aid and connivance of government personnel,” the report alleged adding that most of the times, as recorded in the judgments, the forgery could not be detected immediately and further inquiries were directed.