Assam forms panel to identify ‘collaborators’ of illegal migrants

The Assam government has constituted a five-member committee for initiating immediate and proactive steps to identify the intermediaries, facilitators and collaborators of illegal migrants from across the international border into the state and initiate legal action to bring them to justice, officials said here on Wednesday.

The Special Director-General of Police (Border) Mukesh Agrawal confirmed the setting up of the panel on Tuesday following a discussion with the state Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua on January 11.

Agrawal, a senior IPS officer, in his notification, said : “The committee has been constituted to take immediate and proactive steps to identify the intermediaries, facilitators, collaborators facilitating the infiltrations of illegal migrants from across the international border into Assam and initiate legal action to bring them to justice.

“According to a senior official of the Border Wing under the Home Department, the panel headed by IPS officer Subhrajyoti Borah, the commandant of the 7th Assam Police Battalion based in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district, would strengthen the existing mechanism of dealing with illegal migrations, which is always a key issue in Assam.

Agrawal’s notification, available with IANS, said that the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Border), the Superintendents of Police (Border) of all districts, Superintendent of Railway Police (Border) and other concerned officials would take legal action in their respective jurisdictions on the recommendation of the five-member team.

It said : “They would also render necessary assistance to the committee in performing its task including utilisation of border staff of the districts as and when required by the committee.”

The Deputy Inspector of Police (Ranges) would supervise the progress of the work of the committee and follow-up action being taken in their respective ranges.

“The Guwahati-based Commissioner of Police and the Inspector General of Police for the Bodoland Territorial Region would also oversee the progress of the work of the panel.

The constitution of the panel has assumed significance ahead of the Assam Assembly elections as the issue of illegal infiltrations, or “illegal migrants from Bangladesh” have always been a major poll issue for most political parties in the northeastern state.

Assam will likely go to polls in April-May along with West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Meanwhile, to strengthen the security related infrastructures along the state borders, the Assam government has recently sanctioned Rs 100 crore and decided to further tighten the vigil along the frontiers.

An official said that in line with the MOITRI scheme for the modernisation of police stations, Assam government is all set to launch a scheme for the infrastructural development of the Border Outposts (BOPs).

He said that in the first phase of the scheme, 50 BOPs would be upgraded and an amount to the tune of around Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for the purpose. Subsequently, other BOPs of the state would be covered under the scheme.

“The sealing of the India-Bangladesh border is the topmost priority for making Assam free from illegal migrants from across the international border and for this purpose the border is being fenced by physical and non-physical barriers,” the official said.

The 263km India-Bangladesh international border along Assam is being guarded by the Border Security Force (BSF) while the 267 km Indo-Bhutan international border is manned by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

A second line of defence is being provided by the Assam Police.Besides, Assam shares 2616.1 km inter-state borders with six northeastern states, excluding Sikkim.

The Assam Police Border Organisation was set up in 1962 as a unit of the State police’s Special Branch. However, it began functioning independently in 1974.Presently, the border wing is manned by 4,037 personnel of different ranks, of which 3,153 are sanctioned by the Centre under the Prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners scheme while 884 are sanctioned by the state government.

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