Union Home Ministry Uncovers Trans-Border Illegal Immigration Racket To Change India’s Demography, Orders NIA Probe

by Jaideep Mazumdar - Jan 18, 2022 05:10 PM +05:30 IST
Union Home Ministry Uncovers Trans-Border Illegal Immigration Racket To Change India’s Demography, Orders NIA ProbeA Rohingya rally in West Bengal in 2017
  • According to the MHA’s preliminary findings, the racket is being run by some Bangladesh-origin Muslims in India at the behest of the kingpins in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    Apart from facilitating the entry of the illegal Muslim immigrants, the racketeers also arrange for forged documents like Aadhar cards, voter identity cards, ration cards and driving licences for the aliens.

A racket, with its tentacles extending to Pakistan and Bangladesh, to facilitate illegal migration of Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims into India with a view to changing the demography of many areas of the country and also build a ‘fifth column’ within India, has been uncovered by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently.

The MHA, in a communication to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) dated December 23, 2021, asked the latter to carry out a thorough probe into the dangerous racket. The NIA, it is learnt, is already on the job.

According to the MHA’s preliminary findings, the racket is being run by some Bangladesh-origin Muslims in India at the behest of the kingpins in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Apart from facilitating the entry of the illegal Muslim immigrants, the racketeers also arrange for forged documents like Aadhar cards, voter identity cards, ration cards and driving licences for the aliens.

“This is not a mere human trafficking racket. The sinister objectives are apparent from the fact that it is controlled by Pakistani elements, and the illegal Muslim immigrants are being settled in faraway places like Gurugram, Jammu, parts of Mumbai and Bengaluru. The places where these illegal Muslim migrants are being settled are chosen very carefully; these places already have a (indigenous) Muslim presence of about 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the population,” a senior MHA officer told Swarajya from New Delhi.

Some community leaders of the indigenous Muslims at these places are co-opted into the sinister plan and they help the illegal migrants in settling down in their midst and offer protection to them.

Those running the racket provide them (the illegal Muslim migrants) with forged or fraudulently-acquired citizenship and other documents.

The MHA officer explained the long-term game plan: “Once the population of Muslims (indigenous plus illegal migrants) crosses 20 per cent, they start exerting a lot of political influence. Local politicians, realising that Muslims vote unitedly, start courting them and in our first-past-the-post system with multiple candidates, anyone who gets about 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the votes stands a good chance of winning. Hence, local politicians become dependent on Muslim votes in order to win and start protecting them. They (local politicians) not only turn a blind eye to the entry and settlement of more and more illegal Muslim migrants, but often actively encourage them in order to increase their vote bank”.

Over the past 20 years and more, the demographic composition of many pockets in the country has changed and Muslims have become a dominant political force in these areas.

“This is apart from vast swathes along the Indo-Bangladesh border where Bangladesh-origin Muslims now form a majority or at least a substantial segment of the population (above 25 per cent) that allows them to wield undue political influence,” the MHA officer said.

The MHA’s findings are based on reports filed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) over the past couple of years. The IB has identified Kumkum Ahmed Chaudhury and Shah Alam Laskar as two of the kingpins of the racket. Both are Bangladesh-origin Muslims who had settled down in Assam before moving to Bengaluru and Jammu respectively.

The two report to one Rajah Ali, a Pakistani. Chaudhury and Laskar receive huge sums of money from their bosses in Bangladesh. The IB suspects that the racket is actually being masterminded from Pakistan and is the brainchild of the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

“We strongly suspect that this racket is being orchestrated by the ISI,” said the MHA officer.

According to the IB reports, Rohingyas are trafficked into India mostly through the unfenced and porous parts of the Indo-Bangla border in Tripura. The IB has identified some low-level local (non-BJP) politicians who help the entry of these Rohingyas into Tripura and arrange for their initial shelter and other logistics.

“All the Rohingyas are highly radicalised Islamists and are completely in the control of hardline mullahs who, we suspect, are funded and supported by Pakistani agencies. The radicalised Rohingyas, who subscribe to a regressive version of Islam, are thus willing handmaidens of Islamabad in India and act as ‘fifth columnists’ within India,” said an officer of the MHA’s Counter-Terrorism & Counter-Radicalization (CTCR) Division that also oversees the functioning of the NIA.

Apart from Tripura, the Rohingyas are also brought in through Meghalaya and Bengal. “There is a very well-organised human trafficking ring patronised by Islamist organisations like the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). These organisations facilitate the transportation of Rohingyas from the refugee camps in Chittagong to the Indo-Bangladesh border. Elements of the trafficking ring in Bangladesh then help them cross the international border, from where Bangladesh-origin Muslims take over to arrange shelters, logistical support and forge or fraudulent identity documents from the Rohingyas,” said the CTCR Division officer.

The modus operandi for trafficking Bangladeshi Muslims into India is the same. But what stands out is that all the Muslims (Rohingyas and Bangladeshis) trafficked and brought into India are a highly radicalised lot, who practise the extremist Salafi Islam.

The MHA, in its December 23 communication to the NIA, alluded to the game plan. The letter mentioned that “there is a well-designed larger conspiracy to exploit the illegal migrants and also to destabilise the population ratio and demographic scenario of the country”.

The MHA fears that the Rohingyas and Bangladeshis brought in by this trafficking cartel are ‘fifth columnists’ whose allegiance lie with their Islamist Pakistani and Bangladeshi benefactors or handlers.

“Even a small group of such radicalised people subscribing to an extreme form of Islam and owing extra-territorial allegiance living in various pockets of the country can wreak havoc on India,” the MHA officer stated.

The IB has raised red flags in the past about these Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. “These illegal migrants brought in by this particular trafficking ring subscribe to a pan-Islamist identity and have been brainwashed into looking at India as a land of kafirs (impure non-believers) that has to be ‘purified’. They can be ready recruits for Islamist terror groups and pose a grave danger to our internal security,” he added.

IB reports say that this trafficking ring has brought in thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi Muslims and settled them in some parts of the country over the past six to seven years.

The IB suspects that there are many more such trafficking rings working independently or in tandem. “This is why the NIA has been asked to conduct a thorough probe,” the CTCR division officer said.

An officer of the MHA’s Internal Security-1 Division who was privy to the IB reports told Swarajya that the danger posed to the country’s internal security by the presence of Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims trafficked by this and similar rings is real and grim.

“These illegal migrants are, for all practical purposes, enemy agents within India,” he said.

But the real challenge, say all the MHA officers, is not just in unearthing and exposing the trafficking racket and nabbing the operators of the racket.

“The tough part is what to do with these illegal migrants. Thanks to all the (fraudulently-acquired) documents that these illegal migrants possess, it will be very tough to prove that they are not Indian citizens. And even if they are proved to be foreigners, Bangladesh will refuse to acknowledge most of these Bangladeshi Muslims as its citizens (as has happened in the past as well) and it will not be easy to deport the Rohingyas also,” said one MHA officer.

In September 2017, the MHA had told the Supreme Court that an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims had entered India illegally and were staying in various parts of the country. The MHA had told the apex court in an affidavit in response to a petition filed by two illegal Rohingya Muslims migrants seeking refugee status in India that the Rohingya Muslims pose a serious national security threat.

The MHA, in its affidavit, had also said that that intelligence reports said some Rohingya Muslims had links with Pakistan-based terror organisations and that they were indulging in anti-national activities such as mobilisation of funds through hawala channels, procuring fake identities and indulging in human trafficking.

The number of illegal Rohingya Muslim migrants, and the threat they pose to India’s internal security, has only gone up manifold since then.

Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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