Illegal immigration a big worry: India CEC

H S Brahma
H S Brahma

NEW DELHI: Terming illegal immigration as a major worry, Chief Election Commissioner H S Brahma has said India is perhaps the only country in the world to allow foreigners to come and settle here without permission or paperwork.

Brahma, who demits office on April 18, said physical structures or fencing cannot be a barrier to prevent human beings from crossing border.

“So, unless the people behind the barbed wires, that is the administration, whichever government is there, the vigilance by the local people, unless they are resilient and are sure what is happening around them (the problem cannot be solved),” Bramha said, adding that almost all states in the northeast face this problem.

He said the most important lesson learnt from the policy of fencing is that we must educate and motivate every Indian living along the border to ensure that there is no one who migrates, infiltrates.

“And that is a fact. How can vast number of people come to your country? I have worked with the Government of India for over 40 years. Nowhere in the world I have seen a single nation, big or large, allow foreigners to come and settle in the country without permission or any kind of paperwork,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of a movie on infiltration in Assam, Brahma recalled his stint as Joint Secretary (Border Management) from 2003 to 2007, saying the international boundary with Bangladesh was one of the most daunting tasks because of its terrain.

He said it is the longest international border of India spreading across 18,000 km.
“One of the biggest mandates was to ensure that no illegal immigration takes place through our borders. That’s why we built the fence. 80 per cent of the work was done by me between 2003 to 2007.

But infiltration continues. Physical structure (fencing) cannot be a barrier to prevent human beings to prevent infiltration,” he said.

Responding to a question on preparation of electoral rolls in Assam ahead of 2016 Assembly elections, Bramha said while preparing the rolls, citizenship, the most crucial criteria, is taken into consideration after verification.

“We will definitely verify before we finalize the electoral rolls. This is the stand we have been taking,” he said. -PTI

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