The government on Tuesday announced that it will work towards implementing the suggestions made by the Supreme Court while striking down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) act, and said more tribunals would be set up under the Foreigners Act to mitigate the harassment of Bengali-speaking Indian nationals.
A Group of Ministers has been set up by the government to look into the observations made by the apex court and come out with its recommendations, Home Minister Shivraj Patil told the Rajya Sabha while winding up a short-duration discussion on the Supreme Court order initiated by senior Bharatiya Janata Party member Pramod Mahajan.
Sharing the concern of the Opposition member about illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals, Patil said the government was making all efforts to check the menace and complete the fencing work along the Indo-Bangladesh border in one to one-and-a-half years.
Also read: SC strikes down Illegal Migrants Act
Listing out measures being undertaken to combat illegal migration, the home minister said identity cards were being issued to those staying in border areas. Also, additional speed boats were being secured for patrolling riverine regions and more companies of Border Security Force were being deployed for the purpose.
Referring to the Supreme Court ruling, Patil said the government would not move an appeal against it or seek its review.
"At the same time, the government will work towards implementing the Foreigners' Act and set up more tribunals to ensure that there was no harassment of Bengali-speaking and other Indian nationals," he said.
The home minister pointed out that the purpose of the IMDT Act, enacted in 1983, was to prevent harassment to genuine Indian nationals as 96 per cent of the people did not have documents to prove their identity.
He was in agreement with Congress member D N Sharma that before the enactment of the IMDT act even well-known people like singer Parveen Sultana were harassed for want of proper documents.