Illegal Immigration In India – A Talk by J Sai Deepak
The Srijan Foundation organized a talk of Sri. J Sai Deepak at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, KG Marg, New Delhi. The topic of the talk was ‘Illegal Immigration in India”.
I am not sure how many of you are aware of the fact that, along with enlightened souls like Ashish Dhar, we started an initiative called the Indic collective Trust and as part of it, we hope to address quite a few Indic causes. One of the causes that we had taken up, was the cause of Rohingyas and the deportation of Rohingyas. I just wanted to start of the session with something that was written in the immediate aftermath of our intervention on the Supreme Court. Let me just give a short background of what happened, so that you have a clear picture of where I am coming from.
We were already in the process of working on a couple of petitions or at least one petition seeking deportation of illegal immigrants of all hues, especially Bangladeshis of course, from all parts of the country and not just from the Northeast, because the focus whenever you talk of this particular issue seems to be only the Northeast. Fortunately, the Northeast is in news for some reason, unfortunately it’s in the news for wrong reasons. But we were hoping to broad base this particular issue and go after the issue of illegal immigration and give it a broad spectrum. Basically asking or hoping that the Supreme Court would set up foreigner’s tribunals, not just in Northeast or state of Assam but across the country, because it come to a point where illegal Bangladeshis are in Delhi, they are in all parts of country. It’s no more a phenomenon that is limited to the Northeast. So we were in the midst of the preparation, around I think on the September 6th is when we suddenly heard the news that, Mr. Prashant Bhushan had approached the Supreme Court, on behalf of Mohammed Salimullah, where he filed a petition asking for a stay on the government’s decision to deport Rohingyas, so that was the 6th of September. The matter was then listed for the 11th of September, which was a Monday. So, between the 6th of September and 11th of September, If 11th is a Monday, Sunday is out, Saturday is out, we only had the Friday to finish everything.
So, we had to immediately go to court, hoping that our point of view would at least be heard before a decision is taken on the issue and so that it doesn’t appear to the court that there is only one point of view that matters and that there is a diversity of opinions and there are other people who are equally educated, enlightened and compassionate of course, who have their hearts in the right place, who have a legitimate point of view to make. So we had to quickly put together a petition and we bunked in the petition. I think it was done on the Friday and on the 11th It came up.
Before I think, even the petition could be taken up on the 11th of September, there were I think a slew of articles written between, the filing of the petition and the listing of the petition and I will just read out one beautiful piece that was written on, of course from a usual suspect platform, against us- The Wire (okay) and the title of the article is – Supreme Court petitioners must be made to expunge their bigotry against the Rohingyas.
I said Okay, chalo, mission accomplished, we are in news. So we arrived with a bang this was the first ever petition that we had filed on behalf of the Indic collective Trust. You put us on the map, you put us on the spotlight, Thank You. So all that is done and of course this was written by Mr. Prashanth Reddy who I happen to know, I am not sure, I can call him a friend, of course he is an acquaintance and he and I happen to be, more or less in the same professional sphere. He comes from the Intellectual property fraternity and that’s one of my areas; core areas of practice, as a lawyer and I will just read out a few portions of what he has written, and he says that the petitioners who have come to the Supreme Court asking for the deportation of Rohingyas, basically represent these kind of values. I’ll just, just indulge me when I read out these portions:
“For a long time the Sangh Parivar has engaged in Dog whistle politics, targeted against religious minorities especially Muslims (Stereotype 1). The simple policy of the rising stars among the Saffron Brigade (I don’t know who is he referring to, the petitioners or the council for the petitioners, I hope it’s you not me, because I am just the messenger, at least on paper) has been to provoke and polarize through statements that are seemingly benign, but whose real import, is to paint religious minorities as inferior second class citizens (Okay, Stereotype 2). Hence the comments about : kutte ke bache, Mian Musharaff, Love Jihad, Hum panch humare Pachis, James Michael Lyngdoh, of course who can forget the reference to Khabaristhan and Shamshan during the Uttar Pradesh election campaign. Of course the new generation of leaders like Ajay Singh Bisht also known as Yogi Adityanath, do not even attempt to hide their contempt for India’s minorities.”
Notice, the left always pontificates nuance, subtlety, do not always mix the fringe with the mainstream. We are all different, it’s not a monolithic point of view as far as the leftist point of view is concerned. There is a diversity of opinions among them, there are shades of opinions, there are calibrations of opinions, there are grades of opinions like Nerolac paints. You have all these points of view, but all of us are supposed to be one lump, somebody holding a jhanda shouting Ram! Jai Shree Ram! Isn’t different from me. He may be saying the same thing and I may want him to say the same thing, but of course, my way of putting it is certainly different and I may have shades of opinion and my quality of opinion would be markedly different, I am not saying superior, different at least. So this is how they started off, by saying that all of us are one huge monolith, then he goes on to say:
The envelope is constantly being pushed and the new normal, constantly being redefined (what is the new normal according to him?) We are now witnessed to bile and vitriol against Muslim refugees, becoming a formal part of the pleadings filed before the Supreme Court.
The problem with the statement is, it appears as if the author is ignorant of the history of this particular issue and the fact that similar issues have already been escalated in the three landmark judgements of the Supreme Court in 2005, 2006 and 2014, specifically documenting the effect and impact of influx of the Bangladeshi Muslims, from Bangladesh into Assam. I use these words specifically because, these are the terms that have been used in Supreme Court’s decisions. If you want to fault me, perhaps you should fault the Supreme Court and let’s see, hopefully the Contempt Action will be initiated against, if you do that, hopefully, so, then he goes on to say:
The Indic Collective Trust is a Chennai based trust that reportedly works for the welfare of the interest of Indian tradition, culture and civilization. In an Intervention petition filed in the ongoing proceedings initiated by Rohingya Refugees before the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on their deportation back to Myanmar, these self-proclaimed guardians of Indian tradition, culture and civilization have made sweeping statements against the Rohingya people, purely on the basis of their Islamic faith.
This is at a time after 9/11, when I think most parts of the world, unless they are sleeping under a rock or under they live in a bubble, have woken up to Islamist terrorism. Let’s not call it Islamic terrorism, at least Islamist terrorism and making the distinction, of course, for good reason. And then he goes on to say that it’s not just the petitioners, he then goes after the lawyers, here is a good portion of the article it says:
It is also worth noting the rules of professional conduct, prescribed by the Bar Council of India, impose on the advocates the duty to refuse clients who insist on unfair means, the relevant rule is produced here…
So he extracts the rule and therefore he says, I should have or any advocate before taking up this particular matter should have refused this kind of a pleading, or this kind of a petition, which uses certain language and which refers to Islamist terrorism according to him. Going by that logic, if somebody had refused to take up the case of Ajmal Kasab, what would his position have been? Then I think he would have said that we live in a new India, which is a saffron India where people cannot expect fair representation and people are judged even before they are actually put to a fair process of judicial trial and this that and all of that would have actually been hurled against us. So clearly there are two different benchmarks and there are two different standards. Now whether that amounts to double standards, I leave it for you to judge. Now it is in this backdrop, that we need to address, the issue of today, which is – Illegal Immigration in India.
First deal with the perception and political incorrectness of the topic itself, because it appears that anybody who holds a point of view, which doesn’t resonate with the point of view of the media establishment or the left establishment, is necessarily on the wrong side of history, and is on the wrong side of compassion, is on wrong side of humanity. That seems to be the narrative that is being pelled. Is that truly the case? But why do we need to necessarily go down the path of emotional sentiments and that kind of nonsense, lets focus on what the law says.
If you are a democracy, I hope that rule of law is one of the necessary concomitant, that flows with democracy, that is consistent with democracy and democratic values and constitutional values. Therefore I just need to ask myself before a court of Law, Is my position wrong in Law? Is my position rooted in Law? Am I saying something that goes outside the four corners of the legal framework that applies to this issue? That is the only question that I need to escalate before the Supreme Court. Beyond that I don’t think I even need to look into anything at all.
In fact one of the question before the Supreme Court in the Rohingya petition is – Can the Supreme Court at all interfere with this particular issue, for a good reason, it’s like this. So in the US you could perhaps call it, Presidential prerogative or Executive prerogative, which is to say that there are certain aspects of policy, in which the Judiciary is not supposed to interfere, for the simple reason, that one – it may lack expertise, and two – not everything is necessarily open to judicial review. Some things are a matter of policy. After all there are certain benefits that come, with coming to power and because you come to power, you have the right to implement your vision. You can call it imposing my vision but implement my vision. I have a clear manifesto, I have a clear agenda, I am pushing that agenda. So be it. If you have a problem, you will get it done in 2019. You answer then. Until then you will have to wait, until your turn comes. Please wait, you are not in power anymore. Therefore, if there is an agenda that is being pushed, you can only challenge it on legal grounds. Beyond that you really have no recourse at all. All your moralistic nonsense must necessarily find its way, I can’t see the dust bin, but in the dust bin.
Therefore, the point is, you need to ask yourself one question. If, let’s say, I can justify my position in law and I can also justify my position from an ethical standpoint, which I don’t need to before a court, but let’s see, I can and if I can also justify myself from a civilization standpoint, really what is your case? That I have a problem with minorities? Now even minorities or let’s say somebody who belongs to a certain faith and who’s not necessarily a citizen of this country, yet, has become a minority of India, already!
I understand, my mind boggles at this particular presumption because you conflict so many issues at the same time. If India is already unsafe for these minorities, pray, tell me, why do you want to invite them further and subject them to worst persecution. I don’t understand, for the worst possible country for the minorities, don’t you know that? So, in light of this, in light of all this hyperbole, it is important to separate the wheat from the chaff. It is important to ask ourselves what are the core questions at play? What are the rules of law that apply to those issues and questions and what should be the logical conclusion.
Now what is happening before the Supreme Court is not a private dispute, it is necessarily something which concerns every member of the country, it concerns everyone, every citizen. Therefore, it is an issue of public interest and therefore commenting on an ongoing proceeding, let’s say on an ongoing proceeding before the Supreme Court, which is sub judice, in a matter of public interest, is not contempt of court, is my humble submission. Therefore, I will comment on it, I don’t have a problem with it. If somebody has a problem, they can take it up before the court.
Now the point is, there are two issues that I wish to address as part of illegal immigration in India as on date. Obviously, the immediate news peg is Rohingya, but something that has been simmering and festering for a very long time, at least since 1960s or even the 50s, is the issue of Bangladeshi immigration in the Northeast. Both needs to be addressed because there is a clear continuum between the two. There is not too much of a distinction except for the ethnic group that is coming in. In fact, I would go on to say, there is no ethnic distinction also because there are clear scholarly publication written by Burmese scholars, who go on to say that Rohingyas were originally Bengali Muslims from the place Chittagong. They were recorded as Chittagongians in colonial records of the British. That Rohingya apparently is an ethnic term which can be applied across religious sections is, I think is, factually incorrect and historically incorrect. Rohingya has always been, understood as Rohingya Muslims only, not any other community. Let’s be very clear about this. In fact, as a part of our intervention petition before the Supreme Court, we have filed an article of 2005, (I have brought this along with me just for the sake of reference), by a scholar from SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research. She is, let’s say a scholar, in this institution, who has traced the origins of Rohingyas, their historical origins and the development of a Muslim enclave in the state of Rakhine or Arakan and then has explained, what is that this country has been grappling with just like us since 1948. Okay, this not a relatively new issue, this has been going on since 1948.
Now, before that there is one thing we need to address. We live in a nation state. If we live in a nation state, certain assumptions and presumptions go along with the concept of a nation state, which means I am entitled to protect my borders. So I have the power as well as the duty to protect my borders. As globalization made a difference to the idea of a nation state in real practical terms, I don’t think so, I think the best example as on date would be the Brexit example. The fact that you cannot erase identities, you cannot erase ethnic identities, or you can’t erase religious identities or national identities, or the concept of nationalism is not moot, the concept of nationalism has not become redundant, is something that we need to recognize because that is at the heart of the entire issue, because the argument which you will be fed from the other side is, India is a country whose history is full of migration. In fact, I had a gentleman right on my timeline on Twitter, that what happened from 700 AD till 1947 inclusive of both, let’s say the Muslim invasions as well as the British Colonialism, is an example of migration according to him. I didn’t know whether to pity him or to laugh my guts out. I just said, ignore the fool. There is no point in engaging with such a person. If you can’t distinguish between invasion, migration, settlement and Colonialism, God save you. In fact, then I think, there is something seriously wrong with our educational system, which it is.
So, the problem is, to conflate these two issues. See the thing is, the convenient position is, if you are wrong on the law and if you don’t have a clear position to support yourself as far as the law has concerned, they will immediately switch to the other argument, which is the civilization argument and the globalization argument to say. Are you not living in the era of cold war, where you still think that national identity is nation status, a concept still matters? Of course it matters. How does it not matter? Of course it matters. If let’s say India is only a land of migrations and it’s only been a successive wave of migration, since it all been peaceful. Why do we still push the Aryan invasion theory? Let it be the Aryan migration theory, perhaps we may even accept it, even if its flimsy, has no bases, is scientifically flawed. You can’t say on the one hand that you have a problem with this one particular racial stock invading this country and saying that they subjected Dravidians to a lot of oppression and then use the Aryan invasion theory to peddle one agenda and then justify every other invasion as migration. I don’t see how both of these can hold water, something is terribly wrong and I think it doesn’t need an IQ of 120 or even 150 to understand that there is a problem with both these arguments. You can’t actually say that both of them are consistent and they can be reconciled, not possible at all. So we need to understand that unless and until we agree and accept that the concept of a nation state continues to be valid and it has to remain valid. There is no point in discussing the subsequent issues because then you see you are only dealing with technicalities. Your mind will immediately say sorry, you are living in the old world, you are a dinosaur, you are not modern, you are not secular, you are not liberal and therefore you have not embraced the concept of globalization (in) in spirit and in substance and that’s why you continue to harp on, my country, my territory, my border and this kind of nonsense, why do you fight? War is all useless, I am so sorry. Be it war or every other concern that we are faced with today is intrinsically connected to the concept of a nation state at least as far as our external issues are concerned or perhaps even internal issues. Be it aggression from within, let’s call it Naxalism or aggression from outside, both of them are challenges to India as a state, India as a nation state, therefore it is important to respect the sanctity of the concept of a nation state in the first place and then ask ourselves, what is it got to do with this particular issue? As I said, the concept of protection of your sovereign borders flows from your right as a sovereign state.
Now in India, what is the legal framework that applies to this particular issue, is the simple question. Illegal immigrant ka kahi pe koi paribhasha hai, koi definition hai? Does anybody know of it? After all, if I have to place this argument before the court of law, I have to root my position in some kind of a legislation and if I have to call someone illegal immigrant, I need to trace the definition to some statute, correct? I can’t be just using the word refugee and illegal immigrant without any kind of basis. The basis for this would be in two acts, in fact. One is the Citizenship Act and other is the Foreigners Act, both of them compliment each other, where one defines who is a citizen and the other defines who is a foreigner.
So, as far as the Citizenship Act of 1955 is concerned, it goes on to say that someone who is not a foreigner is a citizen, beautiful definition. Now, who is a foreigner is actually defined in the Foreigners Act of 1946 and it has an elaborate definition, where it says someone who doesn’t have valid passport, who has not entered here with a requisite documents or who has a valid passport but has overstayed his, let’s say period of allowance, let’s say period of visa so on. So there is a huge definition for it. There is no definition of a refugee as far as Indian law is concerned. We do not have a refugee law. Okay, so from let’s say, a layman’s perspective or a layperson’s perspective, let’s be very liberal. (lets) lay persons perspective, No, no I am not being sarcastic, I am being very genuine here. All I am saying is from a laypersons perspective. I am able to trace my position to a concrete legislation, which defines who is citizen, who is an illegal immigrant, where as you are citing something which doesn’t even have any basis in Indian law.
To say that we do not have a law as far as refugees are concerned, we perhaps have what is known as a standard operating procedure that came out in I think December 29th 2011 and the NDA government has subsequently applied same standard operating procedure. I will just read out the standard operating procedure, so that it becomes useful and it’s relevant to the discussion because this is also something that we have cited as part of our documents before the Supreme Court.
This is by, this on the 6th of August 2014, from the government of India Ministry of Home Affairs, law for refugees in India, this is what it says, and this one paragraph more or less captures the sum and substance of India’s position when it comes to refugees. OK, so just pay attention to this.
India is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations convention on the status of refugees. Point number one, please note this. So, we are not a signatory to this. Therefore, all obligations that apply to the signatories of this particular convention, they don’t apply to us. Okay, we have not ratified, we have not signed, we are not signatory or a member of this particular convention.
Second, and the 1967 protocol as well. So, every instrument, international instrument has a master document and then you have subsequent protocols that come pursuant to it. So neither are we parties or signatories to the 1951 convention nor are we parties to the 1967 protocol, point number 1. Therefore, the obligations that apply and that attend and visit on signatories don’t apply to us. Two, there is no national law on refugee at present. This is the position of the government of India, which is a fact. Government has circulated a standard operating procedure for dealing with foreign nationals who claim to be refugees to all state governments on 29th of December 2011. So, the Central government in December 2011 has circulated a standard operating procedure to all state governments saying, Bhaiyya, agar aap ke pradeshon mein ek illegal refugee aa jatha hai ya phir refugee aa jatha hai uske saath aap kaise deal karenge, uske liye aapka ek template hai. This is the template, please follow this. That template has been adopted and continues to be adopted even today.
Is our position with respect to Rohingyas, violative of the standard operating procedure, is the only question I have to answer because that is the only position that applies to refugees today. This is the only legal framework that applies to refugees today. This standard operating procedure stipulates that cases which are prima facie justified on grounds of a well-founded fear of persecution, on account of race, religion, sex, nationality, ethnic identity, membership of a particular social group or political opinion can be recommended by the state government to the Union territory, sorry to the Ministry of Home affairs, for grant of long term visa, after due security verification. A foreigner to whom LTV is permitted by the Ministry of home affairs will be allowed to take up employment in the private sector. Therefore what is the mechanism? The state government will escalate a request to the Ministry of Home affairs, the Union ministry of Home Affairs, saying a particular individual or a group is entitled to long term visas after due security verification is undertaken.
Now, if your security verification tells you, that there is a problem, in terms of identifying who poses a threat to you and who doesn’t pose a threat to you, what do you do? So, someone who, let’s call a former friend. Former friend because of my political views of course, basically said, “Sai, is it really your case that all forty thousand people including children and pregnant woman are all terrorist?” I said, no, that’s not my position at all. Then why are you asking for all of them to be chucked out on mass? I said have you been able to prove that Diwali is the sole cause for pollution in Delhi? Have you been able to establish, scientifically and conclusively that this is the only thing that has accused the smog in November, thanks to crackers that were been burst in October, oh! You have not been able to, then on what basis did you base your entire decision on? Prevention. Environmental law and environmental jurisprudence is based on prevention, which is to say – Bhai, dono taraf ladte rahenge, ek kahega global warming hai, doosra kahega global warming nahi hai, pata nahi kaun kisko fund kar raha hai. We have no idea, we don’t know which giant is funding which study. Perhaps we will never have the tools needed to understand the impacts of today’s pollution 30 years. Hence, perhaps we may not have the tools. Consequently, can we not do something about this, to reduce the carbon footprint. Can we not do something about it, is the logic behind environmental policy in general. I am saying apply this same beautiful policy to security as well. It is not unheard of, or unknown in law to apply policies or principles off one area of law to another area of law, if there is a way that you can draw a parallel between two areas, Kal kaun security threat hoga, ye aapko pata hai kya? You don’t know. Are you sure of the consequences of inviting forty thousand people in this country, thirty years hence, we don’t know. But then my answer is, we actually know, and we know this from our experience of Bangladeshi immigrants into this country from 1971 onwards, what it has done to the change of demographics in the Northeast, what it has done to the cultural identity, the ethnic identity, to the law and order situation of the Northeast or even for the safety of women in the Northeast.
Let me put it bluntly, is documented, its known. The Supreme Court recognizes it in three judgements, on the same issue. So therefore I have a live example in front of me and my sense of History tells me, iske baad bhi agar tum seekthe nahi ho, to joothe padne tho lazmi hi hai and you shouldn’t blame. My logic is always been this, what is the point of Yazidis teaching their children ki hamare upar bakhtharbar Athyachar hua hai, aap kar kya rahe te? If it happens for the 73rd time, are you going to blame history or yourself for not standing up and then what is it that you learn, aap bacho ko bathayenge 73 times hogaya not 72, is that the takeaway? Is that your lesson?
If exodus of a certain community happens from a certain part of this country in 1989, that’s a lesson for everybody. In all parts of the country, not just people who were evicted from that particular place. What you say Ashish? (Correct) Correct. Ashish Dhar. So therefore, you need to learn these lessons and my exhortation has been, I don’t need to prove, and it is not even my case that all forty thousand people are necessarily connected to sleeper cells. That’s a conspiracy that I will not able to subscribe to myself, assuming that I am a reasonable person with some kind of a conscience with an aorta of conscience, with a shred of conscience, with a scintilla of conscience, I can’t do this. Therefore, I only have to ask myself, what are better placed people who come from, let’s say security agencies telling us because obviously someone who is been part of the intelligence apparatus and somebody who has served as the part of armed forces clearly has a better understanding of these issues than I do because after all, I have the benefit of that throne called the arm chair from which I tweet or from which I perhaps write a judgement. Therefore, I surely must defer to the opinion of someone who is better positioned to address these issues.
Do we have an example of let’s say a better-informed opinion influencing a judicial outcome on a similar issue in the past? Of course it does. In the Bangladesh case, one of the central documents that was used by the Supreme Court, to arrive at its findings, that illegal immigration is destroying the Northeast was a 42 page report of Lt. General S K Sinha, who was the Governor of Assam at that point of time and his 42 page report was a huge red flag that was escalated to the center saying, please do something about this, because if you don’t do something about this, it’s not just about (this country, sorry) Assam, this is going to affect the rest of the country, in times to come and God, he has been prophetic unfortunately. His words have borne fruit, you know for a fact that this is happening in front of you and you know for a fact that in Greater Noida illegal Bangladeshis have created havoc, right? Imagine how many thousands of kilometers it is away from Assam. Therefore, we need to learn our lessons from the Bangladeshi experience is my humble submission as far as the Rohingya issue is concerned.
But then, before I get into the further nuts and bolts of the Rohingya issue, let me just explain to you, what has happened in the Bangladesh case, so that, you know how politics has played a role, which is being captured in the judgements of the Supreme court, in the affidavits filed before the Supreme Court and you will see that politics has been responsible for us not seeing enough deportations in this country. I will just read out a few portions and perhaps this may be of some use, those who wish to make a note of this, can do because I have a very clear note of these things.
So the first is a writ petition, filed in the year 2000, which led to a judgement of 2005, the second is a judgement of 2006, the third is a judgement of 2014 December, by which time, the supposed part with difference, had come to power. Now point number 1, in 2000 what was the issue? What happened in 2006 and 2014? Just pay attention to this because this is extremely important, the sequence of events make a lot of difference here. 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, okay.
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.
So, you get a standard response from the Central government at all points of time and I am assuming throughout this entire period BJP was not in power. So the standard response from the party in power at the Center was, the repealment of this IMDT Act is under active consideration, it was so actively considered that until the Supreme Court’s decision in 2005 it was still in force. It took a Supreme Court’s decision to kill that legislation with a categoric finding that this legislation has been singularly responsible for not facilitating deportation, although it was meant to facilitate deportation better than the Foreigners Act. The repeated requests from the Students Union of Assam and the State government of Assam was, Arey Bhai baki pradeshon ke liye apne Foreigners Act lahu kar diya hai. Why is that you have come out with this special legislation only as far as Assam is concerned. The Foreigners Act applies to all states neighboring Assam, but it doesn’t applies to Assam because there is a special legislation that applies to Assam. Assam is the weak point where you need more attention and there you have spiked up the standards for deportation of illegal immigrants. This is not a point of law, this is a point of intention, this is a question of intention. A law is not just a piece of document on a paper, it reflects the intention of the legislature and also the intention of the people who are prime movers behind that particular legislation and therefore the government which push for that particular legislature, therefore the question that arises is, what was their intention? What were they doing, people who are supposed to protect our interest as a nation, to protect our sovereign borders as a nation state, what were they doing?
So here is what happens, you have the Asom Gana Parishad, which is one of the parties in Assam, during the course of this litigation before the Supreme Court that is from 2000 to 2005, there is a change in dispensation in the state of Assam. Agar Assam se illegal immigrants ko deport karne ki baat hothi hai, to Assam government us case mein part hi rahegi, clear it has to be a party to that, so Union government bhi hogi, state government bhi hogi, Tho state government hi taraf se ek representation jayega Supreme Court ko, ki bhai isme hamara position ye hai. With respect to this particular legislation, is it constitutional? Is it unconstitutional? Does it or does it not facilitate deportation. The Asom Gan Parishad files the first affidavit on behalf of the state of Assam, clearly echoing the views of the Student Union, saying, yes there is a problem. There is a serious problem wherein between 1981 to 1991, the population explosion of Muslims in Assam was much more than the rest of the country and certainly much more than the population growth of the Hindus in that particular state, either they are having something that is extremely making them potent and fertile or something else is happening. I don’t know what to make of it but the clear indicators are that this is a product of infiltration and that is exactly the report that went from the Governor S K Sinha to the Union government saying 61-71, 71-81, 81-91, take a look at the population explosion figures of both these demographics- Hindus in Assam, Muslims in Assam, Hindus in rest of the country, Muslims in rest of the country. Assamese Muslims grew up in exponential numbers compared to the rest of the Muslims, I don’t know what to make of it. So goats curry may be particularly, I don’t know may be its a favorite delicacy among Assamese Muslims or people who were having this, I don’t know what to make of it.
The point is when this happened, the Supreme Court realized that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. There is a power change that happens. Guess who comes to power in the state of Assam? Congress. They file a second affidavit, Kya problem hai? Dikath kya hai? Everything is okay. The IMDT Act is so effective, it is perfectly constitutional, it is perhaps the textbook example of constitutionality, what is your problem with this legislation? A simple affidavit without explaining what steps have been taken and to deport illegal immigrants is sent to the Supreme Court in the second affidavit filed on behalf of the state of Assam, during the course of the litigation. So, the first request that is made is, Jo pehla affidavit tha, usko poori tarah nikal dijiye records se aur hamari affidavit ko aap le lijiye record pe, because this is our official position. Everybody says what is wrong with you, how can the state keep changing its position, governments may change but as a state you need to have some consistency in your position, how can your positions be so markedly be different and diametrically opposite? So they say ok, don’t replace it isko additional affidavit man lijiye.
Your additional affidavit basically says something that is exactly opposite to your first affidavit, one says it is blatantly unconstitutional, other says it is perfectly constitutional. So the Supreme Court says, ok, I don’t have a problem, I’ll use your affidavit as well and then the Supreme Court says, I don’t see why should I place reliance upon the second affidavit at all, when the facts are to the contrary. You can keep portraying this projection and perception of victimhood but at some stage facts will speak for themselves. The box within which you place yourself to support some kind of victimhood narrative will grow narrower and narrower, ultimately you will realize that you have been a fool all along, you are a useful idiot for somebody’s agenda.
So that’s what exactly happened, and the Supreme Court said that this legislation needs to be scrapped, the rules under this particular legislation need to be scrapped. So the government says, ok, chalo, now l will come out with a new order under Foreigners Act itself and I will come out with a new set of rules, again the same story repeats itself. Now this is in the year 2006 (and) if my memory serves me right, BJP went out of power in 2004. So again, the Congress was in power in 2006. Again, so in the first petition, the lead petitioner was Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, who was the President of ASU at that point of time and again at the second petition he was the petitioner, again going back to the Supreme Court saying, you asked them to strike down that legislation so that they can facilitate and expray deportation. They again come out with the blessed order, which is in the teeth of your first judgement. So again that is struck down. Detailed directions are issued saying, sorry you have to do something about this, increase the number of tribunals, border fencing to zyaada karo. Please understand that Assam has only 262 km border with Bangladesh and the entire length of that border is 4096 km approximately. Obviously, it’s not a straight, the topography is not flat. There are issues, its gonna take some time.
But my question is, Bhai 1960 se leke 2017 tak aap 262km ko teek se fence nahi kar paye? Is that really your case? You couldn’t increase the number of tribunals. You couldn’t and there are repeated exhortations and affidavits before the Supreme Court (have been), we have not been able to find qualified professionals, to man the tribunals. I think the only comparable example would be of a child who comes late to the school,
- bhai late kyun aaye?
- Late aaya.
Arey sawal jawab thodi ho saktha hai. You have to give me a clear response, that’s more or less the response they gave, and this is the government of India making all these statements, before the Supreme Court. If a private litigant had made these kind of statements, the court’s wrath would have visited upon that particular fellow saying, kya kar diya apne? How can you take the court for a ride? This is an abuse of process. I wonder why do governments get too much of an indulgence, what difference does it make?
In fact, they should be held to higher standards. Any statement that they make, they cannot withdraw. You make a statement, you think through that statement and make that statement. Then what they do is, so we just discussed the Foreigners Act, we discussed the IMDT Act. Now you have the Citizenship Act also. The Citizenship Act is what bestows you with citizenship. It can’t be any other legislation that does this. So, they come out with a provision, Section 6A of the Citizenship Act that was inserted after the Assam Accord of 1985, saying bache itna chilla rahe hai, kuch to kar dete yaar, so they introduced that provision.
Why was that provision important? Let me just explain this. So, you have to look at three timelines, 1947-1966, 66-71, 71-till date, okay. A one who is ordinarily been a resident of Assam prior to 1966, will be treated as a citizen of India and therefore a citizen of Assam, and therefore he cannot be treated as an illegal immigrant, 66 se 71, will be covered by Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, the period after 1971 will be covered by the IMDT Act, that’s how it was split. Now IMDT Act tho gaya, that means deportation of people post 1971 also goes into the basket of the Foreigners Act, right? Therefore, the point was, the Foreigners Act now gives you the power to go after everyone. The Citizenship Act is protecting people between 1966-71. There are special provisions which are created for it.
So, the challenge to this particular provision was again filed, I think sometime in 2009, I think so first petition was filed in 2009, the second petition was writ petition of 2012, the second petition by Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha. This is the petitioner in this particular petition. That decision came out on the 17th of December 2014, after change in power in the center. Now one would have hoped that a change in dispensation, would bring with it a change of conscience and a change of position as far as such a critical issue is concerned. The government in power in December 2014, defended the Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, until the Supreme Court struck it down or rather did not strike it down, basically said, we will look into this particular question of whether or not it’s valid, but we are certainly of the view, that ever since this issue has been escalated and has been brought into national spotlight in 1960, the number of people who have been deported is abysmal. Its barely in lakhs and look at the numbers that we have. When Justice or rather when S K Sinha gave his report to the center in 1998-99, the number of illegal immigrants in Assam, I think was close to, I think 1.4 million, close to 1.4 million. Around that time the population of illegal immigrants and Bangladeshis in Delhi, around that time itself was .3 million.
This was in 1998-99, already they had reached Delhi, official figures today are, the number is around 3 crores, 2-3 crores and you can always add another 50%. If it’s a government figure, you can always spike it up by another 50%. That is the number that you are looking at. There is a clear recordal in one of these judgements. Of the three judgements, that one of the pull factors, there are push factors, tho Bangladesh ke taraf se ek push factor hai aur Bharath ke taraf se ek pull factor hai. One specific factor which has been recorded in the judgement is that they are used as vote banks and pampered by political leaders and its specifically mentioned.
Now when we make the same point about Rohingyas in 2017, we are called bigots. Our pleadings are sought to be expunged from the record of the Supreme Court. My bigotry is sought to be expunged. Fine, but who is going to expunge your idiocity? Who is going to help me brainwash your stupid brain that you can’t even seem to understand that this is a reality. If let’s say I did not have a Bangladesh immigration example in front of me, from 1971-2017, you could always say you are being a Trumptard. Okay, you are certainly being someone who is resorting to fear mongering, who is resorting to its not hyperbol, its hyperbole, you are resorting to bigotry, you could say all of these things.
But when I have this example, which has received the endorsement of the highest court of the land, in three successive judgements. I wish to understand what is it that I am saying, which is not supported by facts and law? Now they say, no, no. Even if there is no law which applies to refugees in India, there is certainly customary International Law that applies to all countries who are in the, who are part of the committee of civilized nations and all of us supposed to respect it.
I said, okay, tell us the principle which you are relying upon of International law to support the position, that these people must be treated as refugees. They are saying there is a principle called, Principle of Non Refoulment, Iska matlab kya hai? It’s just this, assume that a lady comes from Pakistan to India saying that she is being persecuted for her religious beliefs and that she is not comfortable in that particular atmosphere, you can’t force her to go back to Pakistan, that is the Principle of Non Refoulement. Bhai jis aag se bachne ki koshish kar rahe hai, app unko vaapas nahi dakhel sakte, that’s the simple point. That means which is the persecution or which is the place where persecution is happening as far as Rohingyas are concerned? Myanmar, kya wo seedha Myanmar se Bharath aa raha hai? Bangladesh me to inka itna bada tent hai, so if I send them back to Bangladesh, am I sending them back to a place where they are being persecuted? Therefore, how is the Principle of Non Refoulement being violated?
Second, is it your case that if, let’s assume for a moment that persecution has taken place, it has occurred, and it is a real issue or it’s an existential issue as far as that community is concerned. Are you saying that it is not possible for that particular state to be put under a watch by United Nations and by a host of countries surrounding saying, boss, it’s no more your problem, your problem has spilled over into my territory, that’s precisely what Indira Gandhi did in 1971-72. She basically, her position towards the United States was please don’t think that I’m actually interested in bifurcating Pakistan, the problem is all these people have spilled over, millions of people have spilled over into our country and I have a real humanitarian crisis and perhaps even demographic crisis at hand and I need to do something about it. That’s precisely the statement that is being made today and that’s is precisely the position that we wish to take today. So what is wrong? After all she is the venerated figure for certain sections. If she is so infallible, why is that position suddenly fallible? Merely because somebody else says it? Forget who says it, ask yourself objectively what is wrong with the position? Now, Principle of Non Refoulement also translates to multiple things, iska matlab ye hai, refugees ke bhalai ke liye agar aap kuch kar sakte hai, please kuch ki jiye, that is the sum and substance of it .Tho aap 10 cheeze kar sakte hai, which is – send relief material, provide them with assistance, financial assistance, humanitarian aid, make sure that their refugee shelters in wherever, whichever country they live in are in decent conditions, in sanitary conditions, in human conditions, do all that. Why does it necessarily have to translate to only one option, which is to say invite them, settle them, rehabilitate them, in this country?
One of the things that applies in International law, when it comes to addressing refugee situations and humanitarian situations is, it is not one person’s problem, people have to share that particular burden. You have a China, you have a Bangladesh, you have others and certainly, I would say, the OIC perhaps could have a view. The Organization of Islamic Countries perhaps may have a view because they have always had a view on Kashmir, they’ve had a view on Palestine, why are they not having a view on this particular issue? Why are they not stepping up and saying that why should this be India’s problem, we will take care of these people. Palestine is become everybody’s problem except that of the Arab world, Rohingyas become everybody’s problem except of the Arab world and let’s say Bangladesh. How is this correct?
Secondly or Thirdly, I am not going to make the argument that because we don’t have enough resources and it’s already an overpopulated country, let’s not take more people on board. Sorry, I won’t take that position at all, for a very good reason because I am in favor of giving shelter to persecuted Indic communities in India. How is that wrong? That is anyway the position that is being proposed in the Citizenship Amendment Act, where we are basically saying, that specific persecuted minorities such as Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Chakmas from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, three countries have been identified on the basis of which we also have issued LTV notifications, for long term visas, let them be settled in this country. After all we can’t forget history, which says that these people have always belonged to this particular sub-continent and they should find shelter in some parts of the sub-continent and what better place than the motherland itself, which is India and again there is a legal argument to be made here. I will invite only those people in this country, who according to me do not pose a threat to my existence, the law requires me to treat everyone within this country equally. But when somebody decides to enter my country, my prerogative in terms of a sovereign country reigns supreme, which means I get to choose who enters and who can’t, and I can give specific reasons for it. I can give specific rationale for it.
Therefore, it is not illegal, unconstitutional, to say that these are the people who we will invite in this country because we believe they don’t pose trouble. Therefore, if somebody gives the stupid argument, you have invited Zoroastrians, you have invited Tibetans, you have invited these peoples, yes, because I believe they don’t pose any trouble to me. Shouldn’t I have some kind of a concern when 40000 people sneak in and out of those 40000 people 16000 people are in the, in perhaps the controversial flashpoint in India, which is Jammu and Kashmir and all Jihadi organizations and pro separatist organizations throw their weight behind them. Aren’t you actually proving the Supreme Court’s finding that there are political reasons for it? That this is true.
Bearing this in mind, it is legitimate for us to basically take the position that on the basis of identity, India may have the right and perhaps has the right and has the right, to decide who shall and shall not enter this country and where am I drawing this position from? I am drawing this position from the Foreigners Act which has been interpreted in two landmark judgements of the Supreme Court, one in 91 where it specifically says that the power of the government to expel an illegal immigrant in unfettered. It is its sole prerogative. I am only saying the converse, the power of the government to allow people to enter is also equally unfettered. If I can kick people out solely on my prerogative, I can certainly invite them on my prerogative. That is the converse. To put it in James Bond terms, the license to kill is equally the license to not kill.
Therefore, as far as I am concerned, the Foreigners Act is the only legislation that applies to this particular issue or at least has to hold supreme because you can’t site Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution because in the very same judgement the court is also held. All these people certainly have the benefit of Article 21 of the constitution, which means they will be treated as dignified people. They will be treated with dignity that doesn’t necessarily translate to giving them a residence in this particular country, because if you choose to do that, everybody can walk into this country invoke article 21 and 14 and render useless the power of the government under the Foreigners Act to kick them out. How do you stop them? Therefore our position has been before the Supreme Court, before you entertain this particular petition ask yourself, if you can even comment on it .We are basically saying, I can approach the Supreme Court asking for deportation but nobody can come to the Supreme Court to stop deportation because when I go to the Supreme Court, I am basically asking the Supreme Court to push the government to exercise its power because it is not exercising its power, but somebody can’t go to the Supreme Court and say prevent the government from exercising its power, which is already recognized in two landmark judgements.
Assume for a moment that a bonafide citizen of this country is suddenly branded an illegal immigrant and then he sought to be kicked out under the Foreigners Act. Of course, then you have the right to say, how did you suddenly brand him an illegal immigrant? What is the factual basis for it? What is the legal basis for it? It is nobody’s case that Rohingyas are citizens of this country. If you are not a citizen of this country, you are not a citizen of this country under the Citizenship Act. Therefore, you are a foreigner. Now under the Foreigners Act, you fall within the definition of an illegal immigrant because there is no definition for a refugee. If you are an illegal immigrant, the government’s power to kick you out is legitimate. I am sorry, I don’t want to use the word kick you out, for the simple reason that it is a humanitarian disaster, at least as far as Rohingyas are concerned. Whether it’s their doing or somebody else’s doing, they are certainly at the receiving end of it. Be that does it may, to say that it must translate to embracing a national security threat which could blow in your face in the next 10 or 20 years, what do you do? So, what did we do? We said fine, I am the Sangi troll, who mouths this kind of bigoted nonsense. Let me see how many people resonate and echo my opinion.
So, what we did was, we placed before the Supreme Court, at least 7 articles from institutions whose secular credentials are above board, an article by
- India Today, titled “Rohingyas in India and terror threat, how Jihadi forces may have infiltrated persecuted Muslims of Myanmar”, this is the India Today writing,
- Reuters – Myanmar’s Rohingya insurgencies has link to Saudi, Pakistan Report
- The Nation – article- Pakistan and the Rohingyas
- Al Jazeera – Deadly clashes erupt in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state.
- BBC – Why is there communal violence in Myanmar?
- Hindustan Times article – Lashkar radicalizes Rohingyas to wage war against India.
So what am I saying before the Supreme Court, that makes me bigoted which others have not said in mainstream media? The problem is not with the facts, the problem is that the position has become politically incorrect. Again, this is another instance of branding and silencing merely because you have a point of view, which is different from the established point of view, the acceptable point of view, the politically correct point of view. I am placing law, I am placing facts, it cannot be your case that until I am able to demonstrate to the court every member of that 40000 community is a terrorist, the government can’t do anything about it, which world are you living in? In the world of national security threats even 10 people are problematic. You did not need 3000 people to kill 3000 people in 9/11. You needed only 11 people and 19 hijackers to do that entire damage.
So, what are we talking about? Nobody stops India from giving these people the support they need, the humanitarian aid they need. But do we really need to atone, let’s say to hug the cactus? We don’t need to hug the cactus, that’s not our job at all. We have, we don’t need to suffer from white guilt. Let me put it that way. To say that we need to atone for some sins and therefore let’s do this kind of karma and atone for our sins, we don’t need to do this at all. For all practical purposes and if you read the literature with respect to the Rohingya insurgency in Myanmar, they have always wanted the establishment of an Islamic State, they owe their allegiances. In fact, they wanted to be a part of Pakistan or at least a part of, let’s say, pseudo Pakistan, which is Bangladesh. Consequently, when this is their stated political religious, ethnic affiliation and this is their stated position, are you truly blind to that particular position and do you want to put at stake the livelihoods, the lives and the security of the rest of the country? You think these people are there only in Jammu and Kashmir? You will find them in tents in Chembur in Mumbai, some people have reached deep South, they have crossed the Vindhyas, they have crossed the Narmada, but this also begs the question, this is supposed to be a government which is alive to national security, the national security advisor is a former super spook, he is a former super spy, who has lived under cover in Pakistan. I have seen all those videos. So, my question is what were you doing until all these people congregated here? Waiting for them to come and mushroom? Surely it can’t be your case that you did not know that 40000 people were coming into India. So, this is to dispel the notion that we are somehow stooges of the government. In fact, we are asking this question of the government and Supreme Court saying, pray tell us what were you doing? Were you twiddling your thumbs? Do we have another Kargil on our hands? Were you caught asleep?
Therefore, the point is, this is not a question of which dispensation I support or which government am I speaking for, whose mouthpiece I am, whose megaphone I am. This is a question that concerns all of us and today what effects the North east will affect everybody else. So, as far as illegal immigration is concerned, it requires us to do one or two things, if you do not answer the question of who you are as a country on an identity basis today, they will certainly push the argument over a point of time that this country has always been a melting pot of civilizations and cultures and it doesn’t have an identity of its own. Therefore, what is so earth shatteringly wrong about this community settling in this country, which is why it again requires you to go back to the basics and answer who you are, which of course, I have addressed in some other talk, I don’t wish to repeat it.
The point I am trying to make is this, the issue of illegal immigration may not affect people who live in Jor Bagh or in South Delhi or in Sobo or in South Calcutta. I don’t know what is it with south of all these metropolitan cities and rich people. But nevertheless, all these people will not be affected and for them this may be a humanitarian problem and therefore their bleeding hearts will say, Bhai, kuch kar dete hai. For them this is another way of putting Chanda. That’s it. Beyond that they don’t see it, whose gonna be affected? People living on the streets because it’s their jobs, their survival, their livelihoods, which will be at stake first. It’s always the common man or the middle-class man or the lower middle-class person, who is going to bear the brunt of it first. Therefore, we may have the luxury of sitting in our air-conditioned rooms, holding wine bottles basically saying, these people, I am saying, the saffron brigade, they have taken over the country, they have no heart at all and what bores, what country brutes they are. That’s the kind of nonsense you know how to peddle, but when faced with facts, when faced with real issues, when faced with law, you really don’t have a counter, except for hyperbole and allegations.
I am asking you these are the facts, and this is the law, give me your counter. Your counter is only been, how can the court say all 40000 people are terrorist? How can the government say all 4000 people are terrorist? Arey, that’s not even my position. You are creating a straw man and you are shadow boxing with him. I never said even all 40000 are terrorist. It can’t be my case, it can be nobody’s case. I don’t think even Trump will make such a statement. Arey! The point is, somebody asked me this question and you are talking like Trump and this was a lawyer who is practiced in the UK and one of the most qualified people that I have met, as far as law has concerned. I respect his acumen, his commercial sense, everything, as a lawyer. He is a lawyer’s lawyer. He’s been there, he’s done that. He said you’ve become a Trumptard, I posted the links to the Supreme Courts judgements and this was way before all of were even aware of Trumps existence and the American political scene. So, I said are you calling the Supreme Court Trumptard? And I said, wakeel ke sehat ke liye, Supreme Court ka judgement padna acha hota hai, that’s it. He stopped talking to me, he stopped talking to me altogether, and then he said sorry. I didn’t I expect this from you on a public platform. I said you called me a Trumptard on a public platform. What do you expect? Why do you expect the response to be any less public? I don’t understand.
So, the thing is, the moment you catch them on facts, they will go back to playing victim. They will go back to playing the perception argument, when you counter them with perception saying, it’s not just me saying this, the rest of the world is saying this, please wake up, they will immediately say, sorry you don’t have a heart. Will me having a heart make a difference to my case in the Supreme Court? No, how does it matter? Some issues have to be addressed objectively and please understand, we did not have a problem with Afghan refugees coming into this country, but we do have a problem with Rohingyas coming in. So please don’t make it a Muslim issue. When Afghan refugees came into this country, we didn’t ask for their faith, for us it was a simple question of, does Afghanistan, in general, has it had an animus against India? If the answer is a No, there is no problem. But if Rohingyas have always said that their allegiance is towards the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the land of the Pure or the land of the secondary pure, which is the Bangladesh, then surely, I have a problem with such people coming in because, you already made your choice before 1947. Why is that position expected to change all of a sudden? We may deny the two-nation theory, but they have subscribed to it, their entire identity revolves around it, they have lived that theory all their lives for generations together. Consequently, to suddenly hope that them being in a position of victimhood, would all of a sudden change their position towards the two-nation theory? I think is foolhardy, because perhaps this generation which comes in as, let’s say refugees may believe that no, no India has given us this place, let’s be good to this place. Can you guarantee that a generation down the line or two generations down the line, again they will not join voices and again, let’s call it, trifurcate India? What do you do then?
These are not conspiratorial apprehensions, this is not fear mongering. One, my position in law is rooted, I am not saying its 100% right. But I have a basis for what I am saying. I don’t see your basis. Factually I am not the only one saying, what I am saying, I have people, in fact we have even quoted General Ata Hasnain as part of our pleadings before the Supreme Court. See even he has said this and he is a proud Muslim, the man is proud of his faith. So, he is not bringing faith into this entire thing. When somebody asked him on Twitter, what do you think of this particular issue, of the Rohingyas, he says a stateless people, particularly when they have links or they owe their allegiance to Pakistan, they pose a threat to India. He has made the statement, what more do I need?
Therefore as far as I am concerned, the issue of illegal immigration is bound to explode because if the number is about, let’s say, four and a half to five crores today, imagine what a vote bank it represents and whether I agree with Saswati Sarkar in general or not, but you need to read her pieces which she has authored along with Shanmugh and Dikgaj. That is a fantastic series to read, on the change in Demographics along the entire Northeast, in the border regions and it’s scary, border regions in the North and in cities like Mangalore, in South Karnataka in Kanara districts, you need to read them.
The luxury of discussing and deliberating all these esoteric issues, will be afforded to you only when you live in a truly secular state, and truly secular state unfortunately is dependent on demographic balance to some extent. If the demographic balance is not in favor of secularism in the true sense, then you really have a problem. See it’s not our case that you go after a certain community and sterilize that community like Indira Gandhi did. That’s not our point at all, you can’t do that. Can you really go after a certain community and say, nahi bhai, aapke zyada bache ho rahe hai, thoda kam kar lo. That would be wrong, that’s not even the position that’s said today. But it is certainly my case and it can be our case, ki baahar se tho log na aaye . Let there be no artificial increase in population and an alteration in demographics because of extraneous considerations and external factors. Can we not stop that? That is the legitimate expectation.
So, for me this is our case, this is the issue, what I suggest is kindly read all three judgements of the Supreme Court of 2005, 2006 and 2014. They make for brilliant powerful and scary reading because that is more or less playing itself out as we speak, and I hope it doesn’t reflect the future. What can we do about it?
I realized during course of my research that somebody had filed a writ petition civil 125 of 1998, a foresighted gentleman specifically pointing out to Supreme Court that the issue of Bangladesh immigration is not limited to Northeast, why are you not constituting foreigner’s tribunals in the rest of the country? That was dismissed, not dismissed rather disposed of, in an order dated 15th of April 2009, one-page order basically saying, Sarkari machinery apna kam kar rahi hai, aap chintha mat kee jiye, based on an affidavit from the government basically saying that we have taken the necessary steps, to increase the number of tribunals, to find the requisite qualified professionals, we are fencing the borders, aur kya karenge? Itna hi to kar sakte hai, bas, that’s it the petition was just disposed of. Why is this an issue?
Now, I’m not sure, in the light of this particular order, can I go back to the Supreme Court again asking, now revisit this particular issue, you have already come out with a one-page judgement in 2009, in response to such a serious issue. Perhaps it’s possible that the Supreme Court may have thought in 2009, arey, this is fear mongering, this is only an issue limited to the Northeast, when in fact, in S K Sinha’s report itself he has said, they were already in Delhi. I am hoping that the changed circumstances and the changed factual matrix allows us to go back to the Supreme Court and say, you need to revisit and reconsider this, foreigners tribunals have to be constituted across the country, find the resources for it because if you don’t do it . You will have a real law and order national security situation on your hands. We hope to do it, let’s see what happens. So that’s my case… Questions please.