R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Dec 6 - Lack of any law to force the contractors, builders, private hostel owners and those who rent out their houses to provide details of the workers and tenants has become a major problem for the police in dealing with crimes. There are reasons to believe that illegal migrants are taking advantage of the situation to sites not only in construction works but also as domestic help in the State. Lack of any such law also enabled anti-social elements to take refuse in Guwahati city and other parts of the State.
Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that because of lack of legislatures to force the employers and house owners to give details of their employees and tenants, police can only appeal to the people to provide such details. But police cannot force anyone to provide details of the employees and tenants. Sources admitted that some people willingly come forward to provide the details of the tenants, but majority simply do not pay heed to the repeated appeals of the police in this regard and anti-social elements are taking advantage of the situation.
A large number of construction works are now going on not only in Guwahati but all over the State and no one knows about the details of the construction workers including their place of origin and background. Police sources admitted that some of them may turn out to be illegal migrants, but it is not possible for the police to check each and every construction site and there is no legislation to force the contractors or house owners to provide details of the workers engaged by them.
Sources said that in the last couple of years, a special drive was launched a few times in parts of Guwahati city where large gathering of daily wage labourers were seen in the morning. The photos of the labourers were taken and their names and addresses were recorded properly. Some suspected foreigners were also asked to show documents to prove their citizenship, but interestingly, whenever such drives were launched, at least 50 per cent of the labourers vanished for quite some time, which raised doubts that they were not genuine Indian citizens. Sources said, “some people could not provide any document to prove that they are genuine Indian citizens and they simply vanished. However, it is a fact that they did not infiltrate into India recently but we believe that they are post 1971 migrants who cannot stay in India legally,” sources added.
Though border police personnel are deployed in almost all the police stations, they need the backup support of armed policemen or personnel of the Central forces to carry out surveys as there have been instances of attacks on them. On the positive side, earlier border police personnel were used in other police station duties, but following an order of the Gauhati High Court, such personnel can be used on other duties only on special occasions with special permission from the head of the border police force.
Rapid growth of private hostels for boys and girls and working women is also an area of concern as the police and the Guwahati Municipal Corporation are not aware of the details of such hostels including the background and residential addresses of the boarders. Most hostel owners are running it without taking any permission. Encroachment of the Hills is also a major problem for the law enforcing agencies and police sources admitted that it is not possible to carry out regular patrolling in those areas and some raids are carried out only if there is a specific input of presence of anti-social elements. Moreover, patrolling of the hills is carried out before the Republic and Independence Days.
It may be mentioned here that in its Vision Document released before the 2016 Assembly elections, the BJP promised to enact a law to sternly deal with anyone who employs foreigners, but that has not yet been done.