STF formed to detect illegal migrants

Kohima: In view of the reported move by some NGOs issuing identity cards to members of a certain community in and around Dimapur to detect illegal migrants, the Nagaland government today said it had constituted Special Task Forces to identify such people.

The NGOs, however, criticised the government saying it was sleeping all these years while the problem of illegal migrants grew unchecked.

In a recent notification, the home department asked the district administrations to form STF to detect and deport foreigners who entered Nagaland illegally violating the norms of Foreigners Act 1946, Chief Secretary Lalthara said.

Lalthara said in a statement that there were reports that certain NGOs decided to screen people belonging to a particular community to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and issue identity cards to those found to be bona fide Indian citizens through the screening process.

The intention of the NGOs might be good, but, except the government`s law enforcing agencies, none had the legal authority to launch such a programme, he said. However, the chief secretary said the civil societies can assist the government in detecting illegal migrants.

A network of civil society groups yesterday said government `inaction` on the issue had forced them to detect Bangladeshi nationals staying illegally in and around Dimapur.

The Public Action Committee (PAC) of Dimapur, which was spearheading the campaign, took exception to the notification, saying if the authorities had initiated action against illegal migrants decades ago, it would not have assumed such an alarming proportion.

In a statement, the Committee said when the people had assumed a job that originally should have been done by the state, the government started talking about legal power.

It alleged that lakhs of Bangladeshis were living in the state committing anti-social activities, harming the state`s economy and affecting the social fabric of the Nagas "and the government has been sleeping all these years".

Following the rape of a Naga woman by five migrant labourers at Dimapur in February, the PAC was formed with members from Naga Council Dimapur, village councils, gaonburhas, students` organizations, senior citizens etc to screen illegal immigrants in and around Dimapur.