Vanishing act leaves cops bamboozled; of 42,411 Bangladeshis who have disappeared till June last, only 1,279 nabbed so far
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
Guwahati, July 16: Bangladeshi infiltrators seem to be adept at conjuring up new tricks to hoodwink the system in Assam, and thereby dodge from being deported to their native land. And when all tricks fail and they have their backs to the wall, they pull up the final ace in their sleeve – go missing.
After having tried every trick of the trade to evade detection, when they are finally caught and produced before the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT), where they are pronounced as foreigners, Bangladeshis do the vanishing act. And what is worrisome is the abject failure of the Border Police to nab them.
While the issue has already been red-flagged by the Gauhati High Court few times in the past, the matter also shows the government’s efforts at resolving the problem of Bangladeshi influx in poor light. And not without reason – till June this year, as many as 42,411 persons declared as foreigners by the FTs, have gone missing. Out of these, only 1,279 have been apprehended by the Border Police, while 41,132 are still at large.
In fact, one can gauge the gravity of the problem from the fact that 5 persons declared foreigners by FTs between June 10 and 16 this year have gone missing. All five remain untraced till date.
Dibrugarh district tops the list, with 5,304 Bangladeshis going missing after having been declared as foreigners, and only 58 have been nabbed again. Morigaon comes a close second with 4,924 Bangladeshis having vanished, and only 46 having been caught again. The figures for Jorhat, Cachar and Sivasagar districts are 3,941 (missing) and 65 (caught), 3,740 (missing) and 48 (caught) and 3,273 (missing) and 66 (caught) respectively.
Significantly, perhaps reflecting police hawk-eye vigil and local people’s cooperation with law enforcers on the matter, South Salmara district reported the least number of such missing cases – only 4. And interestingly, all four have been nabbed.
Similarly, Dhubri had only 134 missing cases, of which 14 were apprehended. Even Guwahati city had 254 Bangladeshis doing the vanishing act, of which only 54 were caught.
Sources attributed the rise in the number of such missing cases to the foreigners frequently changing their locations. Besides, most of these people belonging to a particular community share similar names with their counterparts in the State, thereby making the police efforts in nabbing them an uphill task as they melt away in the crowd.
Further, there is an acute shortage of manpower in Border Police that prevents the force from effectively discharging its duties.
The BJP-led alliance government rode to power last year by promising, among other things, a “corruption-free” and “Bangladeshi-free” Assam. Now the ball is in Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s court as to how his government delivers on this promise.