New Delhi: Following persistent demand from the Assam government, the central government is likely to grant extension to 64 foreigners' tribunals in the state with retrospective effect, state government sources said on Wednesday.
The assurance was given to Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal here on Tuesday as he called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
"During the meeting, the Chief Minister urged the Home Minister for immediate extension of the term of foreigners' tribunals, which expired on February 9 this year. We are assured that the matter would be looked into favourably," the source told IANS.
At present, 100 foreigners' tribunals are functioning in Assam, of which 64 were created in 2014, in line with a Supreme Court directive, for a period of two years.
In February 2014, the Assam government had established additional 36 foreigners' tribunals for a period of two years.
These 36 tribunals, aimed at disposing off cases related to "foreigners" and "illegal immigrants" in Assam, were opened in key hubs like Dhubri, Barpeta, Nagaon, Goalpara, Sonitpur, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Cachar, Nalbari, Morigaon, Darrang and Dhemaji.
During his meeting with Rajnath Singh, the first-ever BJP Chief Minister of the northeastern state, Sonowal described the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam as a "historic process".
The Chief Minister said that the state Government had already submitted a revised proposal of Rs 882 crore to the Union government in view of the enormity of the NRC work.
"Issues like Indo-Bangladesh border fencing also figured at the meeting," the source said.
The Home Minister is believed to have assured the Chief Minister that his request to hand over the supervision of the border fencing to the army, as is the case with the Indo-Pak border in Jammu & Kashmir, would be considered.
Sonowal also renewed his demand for additional central paramilitary forces, as the currently deployed forces are being withdrawn by the Centre on completion of the poll process in the state.
At least 75 companies of central forces were withdrawn from Assam after the May elections. The state government had last month told the Centre that such a move would adversely impact the law and order situation in the state.
The state government also evinced interest in the idea of raising an exclusive Indian Reserved Battalion in the state, the source added.