Anticipating NRC, Over 5,000 Illegal Bangladeshis Have Left India In The Last Two Months, All You Need To Know

by Swarajya Staff - Jan 6, 2020 02:54 PM +05:30 IST
Anticipating NRC, Over 5,000 Illegal Bangladeshis Have Left India In The Last Two Months, All You Need To KnowA border fence between India and Bangladesh. (Shazia Rahman via GettyImages)

Intelligence agencies have pointed out that in the past few weeks, each day, hundreds of illegal Bangladeshis are crossing over to the Bangladesh side through porous areas of the border, notes Times of India.

This means that after the NRC prospect, the actual number of Bangladeshis going back to their country could be in thousands.

Bangladesh has seen a spurt in infiltration arrests over the past couple of months, around 450 since November.

Reportedly, around 200 Bangladeshis have returned each day through North 24 Parganas alone. These people, though originally Bangladeshi, were arrested for illegally crossing the border.

“..since they are originally from Bangladesh, the charges being made against them are very light so that they can easily get bail,” a Bangladeshi official was quoted as saying.

Interestingly, the illegals who had gone to Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and other metropolitan areas are returning back to Bangladesh in anticipation of the NRC.

The report also quoted an official in Bangladesh as saying that most of the people he had arrested came from Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. He also said that many of them carried Aadhaar cards, ration cards, and voter ids.

Reportedly, a process of regular low-key push back of illegals is on in India, and illegal Bangladeshis have come over to border villages in West Bengal, waiting for an opportune time to go back.

Despite admitting that the persons were of Bangladeshi origin, the Bangladeshi government has increased the vigil on the border to prevent “infiltration”. Resistance committees of villagers at the border have been formed to keep vigil and prevent infiltration.

The report also quoted a 24 North Pargana-based tout who runs a racket that sends people without passport to Bangladesh that he had sent around 5,000 people to Bangladesh in the last two months.

The racketeer also said that the usual price of Rs 4,000 per person increased to Rs 5,000 after the people from Bengaluru started pouring in.

Illegal Immigration problem is real

The above-mentioned figures hint that there are substantial number of illegal immigrants in India.

Madhur Sharma, editor of The Indian Dispatch, looked at the the latest data [PDF] published by the National Crime Records Bureau regarding the problem of illegal immigration in the state of West Bengal. He notes:

The data reveals that out of all the criminal cases from across India in which foreigners were booked, West Bengal came first with a whopping share of 49 per cent.

Out of the total 1,098 cases registered against foreigners in 2017 in the state, 1,034 were for violation of the Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 — laws concerning entry, exit, and stay of foreign nationals in the country.

The data also reveals that a vast majority of those booked under these laws are largely Bangladeshi nationals, way more than any other nationality.

The Census data shows that the proportion of Muslims in West Bengal has grown from 19.85 per cent in 1951 to 27.01 per cent in 2011. This in itself doesn’t speak about the extent of illegal immigration, as the numbers maybe due to higher birth rate among Muslims.

However, when growth rates in border areas are compared with the state-wise rates, it becomes clear that the former are seeing much higher population growth. This cannot be attributed to the Muslim population growth rate, as the comparison with the non-border areas with majority Bengali-speaking Muslim population show similar results.

Also read: Fear Of NRC Triggers Migration Of Illegal Immigrants From India Back To Bangladesh Via ‘Safe Haven’ Bengal

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