Foreigners overstaying in J&K since 2011 to be deported

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz. Updated: 7/11/2024 5:07:53 AM Front Page

Govt constitutes seven member panel; most of illegal residents from Pakistan, PoK, Bangladesh and Myanmar

Srinagar: Considering mass deportation of all illegal residents for the purpose of national security, the Union Territory Government has constituted a seven-member high level committee to identify all foreign nationals who have been overstaying in Jammu and Kashmir for the last over 13 years.
The Central and the UT intelligence and security agencies, according to highly placed authoritative sources, have alerted the government that “thousands” of foreigners, mostly the Pakistani nationals, had been staying illegally in Jammu and Kashmir since January 2011. These foreigners, according to sources, have arrived in Jammu and Kashmir through different means, mostly on the Indian visa, and have not lawfully extended their stay over the years.
According to these sources, authorities have learned that over 5,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar have been staying in Jammu since a long time. Many of them are reportedly in possession of travel documents from a UN agency showing them as temporary migrants. However, a large number of them have been staying in Jammu and some other Indian cities without any documents or authorization.
“Many of these illegal residents are the women from Pakistan and the PoK married to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir who have failed to secure Indian nationality. They include a top political leader’s wife who has not been granted Indian citizenship even 23 years after her marriage.
The high level panel constituted on Wednesday has been tasked with gathering biographic and biometric details of the illegal migrants. It will also maintain an updated digital record regularly.
While Principal Secretary Home Chandraker Bharti has been appointed the panel’s chairman, six officers have been nominated as its members. They include Amritsar-based Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) of Punjab, Senior Superintendent of Police CID, Special Branch Srinagar and Jammu, who are also Foreigners Registration Office heads in Srinagar and Jammu, besides SSP CID Headquarters, all District SSPs who are functioning as FROs in their respective districts and the State Coordinator IVFRT, National Informatics Centre (NIC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The committee is required to prepare a monthly report and submit it to the Union Home Ministry by the 5th day of each month. The Home Department has also instructed the panel to coordinate and oversee efforts related to tracing and deporting foreign nationals residing illegally in J&K.
The panel will monitor the progress made on these issues and report regularly to the Home Department. It has also been made responsible for disseminating information about the on-going cases in various courts, as well as monitoring and updating the status of these cases for relevant stakeholders.
The nodal officer will oversee the collection of biographic and biometric data of illegal migrants, compile progress reports, and maintain an up-to-date digital record of those illegally staying in Jammu and Kashmir on a regular basis, the order said.
In 2021, the Jammu and Kashmir Police conducted an operation against illegal immigrants, detaining more than 270 Rohingyas from Myanmar, including 74 women and 70 children, at the sub-jail in Kathua district’s Hiranagar.
Challenges have increased in the last over 30 years as the foreigners have been using different routes to enter Jammu and Kashmir. “Over a hundred incoming and outgoing flights operate daily at the Srinagar Airport. It is not practically possible to stop and check the travel documents of every single passenger. Besides, a large number of foreigners come to Jammu by train besides fleets of commercial vehicles. The CID/FRO officials are supposed to make entry for all foreigners but they recognise only the Europeans and the Americans besides the visitors from the Arab countries, Japan, Thailand and some Far-East countries”, said an insider.
“We have learned that thousands of such foreigners have been staying in J&K illegally for years after the expiry of their visa and Passport. Until today, there’s no official mechanism to identify and deport such persons on time. Most of the SSPs despite themselves being FROs in their respective districts refer such illegal residents to the FRO at Srinagar and Jammu”, said a senior official.
Hundreds of such illegal residents have obtained stay orders against their deportation from different courts. But this time the State would assiduously pursue such matters in different courts including the J&K High Court and the Supreme Court of India”, a senior official asserted.
The official revealed how hundreds of the illegal residents had secured stay orders against their deportation from J&K High Court but the Police and the Law Department had done little to get such orders vacated. The beneficiaries of this virtual system breakdown include the spouses and children of the Kashmiri youths who went illegally to Pakistan and PoK for getting guerrilla training and weapons but abandoned militancy, got themselves married and returned to J&K with children and Pakistani wives.
Two of such wives of the one-time militants also contested the District Development Council elections in Kupwara and Sonawari but the same were terminated by the J&K election authorities, asserting that they were not bona fide citizens of India and authorised domiciles in Kashmir.

Updated On 7/11/2024 5:08:44 AM

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