BEFORE THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
PETITION NO. /2012
IN THE MATTER OF PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF “INDIGENOUS INDIAN BODO INHABITANTS” IN STATE OF ASSAM WHO HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF THE ONGOING COMMUNAL CONFLICTS WITH ILLEGAL BANGLADESHI INFILTRATORS UNDER THEIR WELL PLANNED MOTIVE AND DESIGN TO UPROOT THEM.
1. Mr. Tarun Vijay
S/O Late Shri R. S. Pawsey,
Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)
5, Meena Bagh, Maulana Azad Road,
2. Avinash Rai Khanna
S/O Shri Surinder Kumar Khanna
202, Brahmputra Appartment,
Dr. B.D. Marg, New Delhi 110001 … Complainant
1. UNION OF INDIA
Through Cabinet Secretary
Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001
2. HOME MINISTER OF INDIA
New Delhi- 110001
3. MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
Through Home Secretary
Udyog Bhawan,New Delhi,
4. CHIEF MINISTER,
The State of Assam
Dispur, Gauhati, Assam
5. CHIEF SECRETARY
Dispur, Gauhati, Assam ...Respondents
The Hon’ble Chairperson & Other
Pious Members of the National Human Rights Commission,
Humble Petition of the Complainants
MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH:
Re Population Density/ Re Growth
Sq. km. (in %)
National Average 392 17.64
State Average 397 16.90
Dhubri 1171 24.40
Karimgunj 673 20.74
Cachar 459 20.17
Goalpara 553 22.74
Hailakandi 497 21.44
Nagaon 711 22.09
Morigaon 618 23.30
10. That the BTC experiment does not seem to be working out. Bodos resent the continuous increase in the number of Bengali Muslims in their areas. It may be noted that it was in the erstwhile Darrang district in 1978 that authorities, while revising the electoral rolls for a Lok Sabha by-election to the Mangaldoi constituency, had discovered that a large number of infiltrators from Bangladesh had enrolled themselves as Indian voters. The incident triggered the Assam Agitation that lasted six years from 1979 to 1985 on the issue of illegal invasion from Bangladesh. The period was marked by several violent incidents. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi signed the Assam Accord of 1985 with the leaders of the AASU(All Assam Students Union) to formally end the Assam agitation in 1985. The accord brought an end to the Assam Agitation and paved the way for the leaders of the agitation to form a political party and form a government in the state of Assam soon after. Though the accord brought an end to the agitation, some of the key clauses are yet to be implemented, which has kept some of the issues festering.
11. That the recent clashes and conflict in the State of Assam resulting into death of 130 persons and mass destruction of property are the aftermath of attacks on Bodos in Kokrajhar district. On July 20, four supporters of the erstwhile BLT were lynched by a mob in Joypore, a Muslim-dominated village in the district. What followed was a series of killings and counter-killings by miscreants from both sides, triggering panic among the common people. Members of both the communities began to flee their houses, leaving the ground for miscreants to indulge in arson, destruction and looting. The rail link with Assam was cut off for nearly two days, and over 25,000 railway passengers were stranded at various stations in Assam and West Bengal as mobs blocked railway lines. The Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express was stoned. Initial official estimates said that more than 5,000 houses had been burnt and 45,000 families of 244 villages had been affected. The clashes resulted in a serious humanitarian crisis, with over four lakh people, who fled their homes, taking shelter in 278 relief camps. The plight of women and children in particular is pathetic and heart rending as the head of the family are usually out for making a living leaving their concerns unattended. Several photographs showing the plight of Bodos particularly women and children are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-A(COLLY).
12. That the Army was called out after almost 4 days on the night of July 24 and was deployed in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon districts. The State Government is to be blamed for the delay. However, Chief Minister Mr, Tarun Gogoi claimed that his government had sent a request for Army help immediately and attributed the late arrival of the troops to “system delay”, without blaming the Centre. Right from the Joint Secretary (North East) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Sambhu Singh, to leaders of various political parties and other organizations are of the opinion that four crucial days had been lost in controlling the situation. Had the Army arrived earlier, the loss of lives and property could have been minimized.
13. That the present clashes can be directly attributed to the illegal influx into Assam. Since 1971, it has been noticed that to a large extent, government land in the char areas and lands earmarked as grazing grounds have been systematically appropriated by illegal infiltrators, in collusion with the district and local administrations. Today, most of the districts along the Indo-Bangladesh border are devoid of government lands or large grazing grounds, which were once an asset to the local communities and farmers. The systematic grabbing of government lands and the steady encroachment of denuded forest areas by illegal infiltrators and non-indigenous communities have created serious differences among the local indigenous populations. The concern voiced by the local political leaders, especially by the chief of the BTAD, Hagrama Mohilary, on the current issue, needs to be seriously examined by the state and Central governments. The news article written by Mr. H. S. Brahma, Election Commissioner of India titled as How to Share Assam, an in-depth analysis of Bodos issue, is annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-B.
(SUPREME COURTS STAND ON INFLUX OF ‘ILLEGAL MUSLIM INFILTRATORS)
faced by the State of Assam ( Para 63 @ Pg. 714). The Supreme Court in Sarbananda Sonowal was concerned with containing the illegal migration by the Muslims by taking effective steps. Supreme Court struck down the Assam specific IMDT (Illegal Migration Determination Tribunal) Act in the above mentioned judgment.When Assam- vote bank politics dictated passage of Foreigners (Tribunals for Assam) Order, 2006, the Supreme Court struck it down again in Sarbananda Sonowal II reported in 2007 1 SCC 174. The Supreme Court observed that India cannot have two different sets of laws to detect illegal immigration. After all, the normal laws of the country say that the onus of proving “citizenship” is always on the accused. But the UPA Government wants different law for Assam where the burden of proving the citizenship or otherwise rests on the police.The 2005 judgment also provided that “All cases of alleged illegal infiltrators pending before the Tribunals under the Illegal Infiltrators (Determination by Tribunals ) Act, 1983 shall stand transferred to the Tribunals constituted under the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 and shall be decided in the manner provided in the Foreigners Act, the Rules made thereunder and the procedure prescribed under the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964”. New tribunals were set up after Supreme Court struck down IMDT for the purpose of detecting and deporting illegal infiltrators but not even a single tribunal is functional.
15. That Illegal immigration from Bangladesh is not confined to State of Assam alone. Many parts of the country, including Delhi and Mumbai, are also affected by this phenomenon. According to Union Minister of State of Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran, “almost 1.4-million illegal Bangladeshis have migrated to India over the past decade alone”. However, the fact remains that more than in other parts of the country; it is in Assam that these infiltrators have been shattering the socio-economic political balance. They not only occupy char areas in the riverine belt but also lead to the growth of unauthorized settlements in Government lands, agricultural lands, grazing reserves and forest areas. They compete with genuine Indian for jobs, thereby worsening the already serious unemployment problem. Then, there is the menace of their “bogus votes”, so much so that they may be able in near future to form their Government and have their own Chief Minister. The threat was clearly enunciated when on July 23, 2008, the Guwahati High Court stated in a judgment: ‘Bangladeshis have become kingmakers in Assam.”
16. That Besides, Indian intelligence officials have often complained that Pakistan has fished in the troubled water, with active grassroots-support of Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami-Bangladesh (HUJI-B), Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad (notorious fundamentalist terrorist outfits in South Asia), has used its “agents” in the guise of infiltrators to exacerbate the communal disharmony between the Hindus and Muslims in parts of the country and promote secessionist – terrorist activities. In fact, the intelligence agencies apprehend their role in the current spate of violence in Assam but no concrete action has been taken by the State Government as yet addressing the problem.
17. That the population in all these areas has been going up by leaps and bounds. There is a clash of interest in the sharing of natural resources such as forests, grazing grounds or even lands. The problem of mounting population pressure and dwindling scarce resources, unemployment, and the lack of opportunities to make a livelihood, will recur from time to time. Even the Election Commission of India is not immune to this problem. It has to tackle the problem of D-Voters (doubtful voters), numbering approximately 4 lakhs, while preparing the electoral rolls of Assam. The subject matter is sub-judice. This also poses a very serious security threat to the country. Need of the hour is that these pending cases lying in various courts and tribunals be disposed of quickly and within a definite timeframe. People who are found to be illegal infiltrators by these tribunals should be deported. Unless this basic issue of illegal migration into the country is resolved, the problem is bound to recur from time to time and in place to place.
18. That the present crisis can be directly attributed to the illegal invasion into Assam. Real peace can never come to the State of Assam until and unless the knotty issue of illegal invasion is resolved to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders. The Muslim population in Assam between 1971 and 1991 has increased to 77.42 per cent as against the figure of 41.89 per cent by the Hindus. Between 1991 and 2001, the corresponding figures were 29.3 per cent for Muslims and 14.95 for Hindus. It is not surprising therefore that today, out of the total 24 districts of Assam, six districts have 60 per cent Muslim population while another six have above 40 per cent of them. And, out of the 126 assembly seats, election of 54 MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly) depends on the Muslim vote bank. And all this has been due to the influx of the illegal infiltrators from neighboring Bangladesh.
19. That even today, the Indo-Bangladesh border is not properly guarded and fenced, largely due to the difficult geographical conditions.676.47 km. of India-Bangladesh border remains unfenced. The population in most border districts of Assam is undergoing a significant change. 11 out of 27 districts today have a majority of persons living who are illegal infiltrators. Districts like Dubri and Kokrajhar have been significantly affected. Dubri on the border of Bangladesh has over 70 percent illegal immigration affected. These are areas which are adjacent to the Chicken’s neck and therefore, constitute a serious threat to India’s security.
20. That the Government of State of Assam and the union Government have miserably failed to tackle the Constitutional breakdown in the State , to take effective action to address torture and assault of the ethnic indigenous tribes and to address the issue of external aggression.
21. That the ruling party in State of Assam will have to change its policy of importing illegal infiltrators to increase its vote bank. The cost of this is being paid by the indigenous people of Assam and India. That the Government of India and Government of Assam has completely ignored the unabated influx of illegal intruders from Bangladesh into Assam and the consequent perceptible change in the demographic pattern of the State. The State apparatus has totally failed to protect the honor and lives of Bodos and provide them with the basic rights. Government has been safeguarding the illegal infiltrators instead of detecting and deporting them who have become the single biggest threat to India's security and sovereignty.
22. Indigenous rights are those rights that exist in recognition of the specific condition of the indigenous peoples. This includes not only the most basic human rights of physical survival and integrity, but are a collection of rights of preservation of their land, language, religion and other elements of cultural heritage that are a part of their existence as a people.The State of Assam is pursuing deliberate policy to protect Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators as these people are vote-banks of ruling Congress party ignoring the gross violation of rights and interests of indigenous Bodos.
23. That the issue that the pro bono Complainants wish to bring to the notice of this Hon’ble Commission and agitate in the present petition, is that the indigenous people, who have been victims of foreign assault deserve basic fundamental and human rights, guaranteed under Articles 14,19 ,21 and 29 of the Constitution of India.
It is therefore, most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Commission may be pleased to pass the following order/orders:-
a) Direct the Respondents to deport /throw out illegal Bangladeshi Muslim intruders/foreigners.
b) Direct the Respondents to protect and safeguard the life, limb and other human rights and privileges of the indigenous tribes/Bodos as enshrined under Articles 14, 19, 21 and 29 of the Constitution of India.
c) Direct the Respondents to ensure the safety and security of India and seal the porous border and push back the infiltrators;
e) Direct the implementation of the Judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Sarbananda Sonowal’s Judgment and protect the State against external aggression;
f) Direct that the pending cases of D-voters, of approximately 4 lakhs lying pending in various Courts and Tribunals be disposed off within a time bound frame and deport illegal infiltrators immediately on such determination;
g) To grant compensation to victims of recent violence in Kokrajhar and neighboring districts in Assam;
h) Direct that an updated National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) be made by deleting the names of Muslim infiltrators/foreigners from Voters List in Assam;
i) To uphold the nonviolability of tribal belts and blocks in Bodo areas;
j) A special financial package to be extended to Bodos for uplifting their status;
k) Direct the Government to take appropriate steps to constitute a sub-committee to address the concern of legitimate Indian citizens especially the indigenous and original tribes and;
l) Direct Respondent No. 4 & 5 to formulate a policy for protecting the collective and individual rights of indigenous Bodos in Assam.
m) Direct Respondents to formulate a policy/law providing exclusive land rights to Bodos and other indigenous tribes and;
n) Pass such other and further order/orders as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the interest of justice;
Mr. Balendu Shekhar (Adv.)
Ms. Ankita Mishra (Adv.)
(Mr. Tarun Vijay)
Complainant No. 1
Ms. Pinky Anand
(Avinash Rai Khanna)
Complainant No. 2