States’ task to round up illegal immigrants: Home Ministry

May 21st, 2008 - 11:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Denying Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje’s contention that the central government has asked her government to round up Bangladeshi immigrants staying illegally, the home ministry Wednesday said the power to do so lies with the states. Noting that the identification and deportation of illegal immigrants is a “continuing process” under the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946, a home ministry statement issued late Tuesday evening said reports of correspondence between the state and the central government on rounding up illegal immigrants create “unnecessary confusion”.

“Powers under the Act … were delegated to the state governments as far back as 1958,” it said.

The Rajasthan government and the central government have been sparring over the issue in the aftermath of the May 13 serial blasts in Jaipur in which at least 61 people were killed.

Investigating agencies suspect the role of the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) possibly with help from Bangladeshi immigrants settled in the state.

Without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Rajasthan, the statement said the powers under the act are delegated to the states and the central government keeps instructing them from time to time on the matter.

Raje had said that the suggestion for setting up a transit camp for Bangladeshi staying illegally had come from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in response to the state government’s letter of June 2007.

“The central government has, at all stages, sought to ensure close coordination with the state governments and union territory administrations in dealing with issues relating to internal security including terrorism, and has extended the fullest support and assistance to them from time to time,” the statement said.

Quoting a Delhi High Court order regarding the detection and deportation of illegal immigrants from Bangaldesh in New Delhi, it said a nodal authority has been constituted to monitor the action.

The statement also noted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been convening meeting of the chief ministers on internal security Meetings for the past four years.

In the last meeting on Dec 20, the prime minister had held separate meetings with individual chief ministers to specifically discuss issues relating to terrorism and Naxalite violence.

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