The Supreme Monday sought a response from the Centre on a petition seeking the implementation of the National Register for Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal immigrants in Tripura.
A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph was referring to the plea filed by Tripura People’s Front, seeking registration of citizens of Tripura in the NRC to identify illegal immigrants.
Tripura Law Secretary Datamohan Jamatia told reporters that the state’s standing counsel in the Supreme Court, Gopal Singh, apprised him on the issue.
“We were informed by our standing counsel at the Supreme Court that the apex court issued notice to the state government and central government in response to the petition,” the law secretary said.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Patal Kanta Jamatia, who filed the petition with the apex court along with Sarmila Murasing and Sunanta Kumar Jamatia, claimed that a huge influx of illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh over last five decades changed the state’s demography.
“The history of illegal infiltration into the State of Tripura is more than a century-old problem. Therefore, to trace back the history and put all the facts and circumstances in its correct perspective the petitioners are constrained to file a lengthy list of dates and events,” the petitioners said.
Tripura, an erstwhile princely state was tribal dominated but the indigenous population were reduced to a minority due to influx of immigrants, the petition added.
“The petitioners submit that it is very necessary to update the NRC in Tripura, detect the illegal immigrants / non-citizens of India, delete them from the voters list and also deport them from India so that the socio-economic, socio-political and socio-cultural equilibrium in Tripura is restored,” a copy of the petition which was made available to indianexpress.com, said.
It also sought the Court to issue directions to set up an “effective mechanism” for detection of illegal immigrants in Tripura, set up appropriate numbers of Foreigners Tribunal in terms of the Foreigners (Tribunals) Orders, 1964 and ensure their deportation after being declared as illegal immigrants.
The petition also sought the apex court to instruct the respondents for taking steps in sealing and Tripura-Bangladesh border and increase border patrolling to prevent further entry of “illegal immigrants”.
The apex court’s move came two days after the Ministry of Home Affairs said no decision had been taken on the issue of NRC revision in the state. “Union Home Minister met a delegation of INPT led by its President Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl on October 4, 2018. However, no assurance of any kind was given by Union Home Minister regarding the implementation of NRC in the state of Tripura. It is categorically asserted that no decision has been taken on the issue of NRC in Tripura”, the MHA had clarified in a press statement.
The ministry’s statement was issued after Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) leaders claimed that Home Minister Singh had assured them to ‘take initiatives’ for revising NRC in Tripura after the ongoing process in Assam gets over.
On July 30, the Centre had published a second draft NRC list of Assam in which out of 3.29 crore people, the names of 2.89 crore were included. The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1.
Assam, which has faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.