Assam – How the Illegal Migrants Determination by Tribunal (IMDT)


So, the issue of protecting the ethnic identity
of Assam is something that has always been an issue ever since its accession to the Union
of India and therefore you had one of the first legislations to come out after the Foreigners
Act OF 1946, was the Immigrants Expulsion Act of 1950, that was made applicable to Assam,
subsequent to that people realized that nothing of consequence is happening. We still see our identity and our place is
being taken hold of and vast numbers are pouring into this particular land, we need to do something
about this. So, the All India Assam Students Union, they
started creating a ruckus about it and then that leads to the accord which is known as
the Assam Accord, which is arrived at the 15th of August 1985. Now before that something happens, the government
comes out with a legislation called the IMDT – Illegal Migrants Determination by Tribunal
Act of 1985, pursuant to which they set up foreigners tribunals, they set up illegal
migrants tribunals, to basically deport these people. There is a Foreigners Act of 1946, there is
a Citizenship Act of 1955, there is an IMDT Act of 1985, okay 1983. You already have a Foreigners Act, to kick
out foreigners, why did you need a second legislation in 1983? Ask yourself, why do you need two Acts to
achieve the same object? Foreigners Act is meant for Constitution of
Tribunals to deport foreigners, the government has absolute powers, unfettered powers under
this legislation to kick out anyone, who is not a citizen of this country, who is an illegal
migrant. Then why do you need a second legislation? This is where it becomes relevant. The IMDT Act imposed a higher burden on the
government to prove that somebody is an illegal migrant, consequently the burden which was
there under the Foreigners Act, was hiked up and spiked up, so that it becomes difficult
for you to kick someone out, thereby defeating the very object of that particular Act itself. Therefore, the Assam’s Students Union continued
to write and make representations to the state government. The state government makes representation
to the Central government over and over again saying, do you know what is the biggest hurdle
in the way of deportation? The very legislation that is meant to facilitate
deportation, they go on writing this until it reaches a crescendo and then they enter
into the Assam Accord of 1985, but does it lead to the repealing of the Act? No, it doesn’t, it goes on.

One comment

  1. Ahom Tais are not indigenous people of Assam. They came from China via Thailand and changed the name of the state from Kamrup to Assam and the name of the capital from Prag Yotish Pur to Guwahati. Non-Muslim Refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh have the right to come to India whenever they like. Assamese cannot object to that.

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