Bangladesh migrants, the citizens of no man’s land

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by Ray, May 24, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Bangladesh migrants, the citizens of no man’s land

    As India prepares to be led by the new Narendra Modi government, the 2014 election will be remembered, in the politics of world’s largest democracy, as an era that wriggled new realities.

    From the near complete wipe out of the Gandhis’ hold – who have given the country three of its prime ministers - on Indian politics, to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) making inroads into new regions like the north eastern state of Assam known to be the Congress ‘fortress’.

    Assam has been returning Congress to power for a long time. What then could have prompted BJP to a resounding victory in 7 out of 14 constituencies in the state?

    Usually a topic brushed aside by the political parties of India, the BJP campaigns strike a special cord with people by taking up the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh into the north eastern part of India especially Assam which borders Bangladesh.

    Pegged at over 20 million in India these migrants – mostly Muslims from Bangladesh – have been permanently settling down in Assam which has impacted the state’s demography reducing the ethnic people of Assam into a minority in many areas, declining land availability and employment and increasing the crime rate.

    Threatened of losing their dominance, the ethnic groups of the region have been up in arms against these migrants, many times resulting in blood spattered battles. The latest being between Bodos, the region’s biggest tribal group, and Muslim settlers believed to have migrated from Bangladesh. About 38 Muslims were killed by Bodo militants. A similar violent outbreak took place in 2012 claiming 42 lives and displacing thousands.

    The entire incident is given a communal overtone said to have been provoked after Narendra Modi’s campaigns in East India including West Bengal (which also receives a sizeable number of migrants from Bangladesh) and Assam where he reiterated that people from Bangladesh who illegally cross the border should be deported.

    However this has a deeper insinuation than just a religious tinge. It is the agitation of indigenous settlers getting marginalized in their own land. Explaining the stance of the BJP, Dr Ajai Sahni, Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management & South Asia Terrorism Portal says, “Though the BJP has always made a distinction between the Hindus and Muslims emigrating from Bangladesh considering the former as refugees and terming the later as illegal immigrants, it has termed the clashes as migrants versus locals and not Hindus versus Muslims.
    ”

    India shares its longest international border, measuring 4,096.7 km, with its eastern neighbor Bangladesh. Eastern regions of India like West Bengal, Assam, Tripura are the bordering states.

    The flow of migrants to India from Bangladesh dates back to 1947 when many fled to Assam and West Bengal from East Pakistan (current Bangladesh) – especially the Hindus –to escape the wrath of the then Pakistani military. This intensified during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. It is estimated that about 10 million people migrated to India. While many returned after the war, a sizeable number stayed behind.

    Migrants who crossed over to India on or before 25 March 1971 were conferred ‘refugee’ status and subsequently granted citizenship by the Government of India. Those crossing the bordering after this are largely considered illegal migrants with the case of persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh being an exception.

    Incessant migration

    It is the economic migration to the country that is creating unrest. Recent decades have seen a rise in border crossing by Bangladeshis, belonging to the majority Bengali speaking Muslim community, to escape economic impoverishment.

    Almost 80 percent of Bangladesh’s population lives in the rural areas, of which 53 percent are classified as poor by the World Bank. While the country’s population is growing, producing a bigger labor force, the land base is shrinking resulting in decline in cultivated areas at a rate of 1 percent per year.

    The country is facing serious issues with living space due to alarming population growth. As per 2011 estimates, the population density of Bangladesh is 964 per sq km, one of the highest in the world.


    This poverty stricken population illegally migrates to India to work as farm labor, industrial labor, construction workers etc.

    These migrant settlers constitute a majority in many parts of Assam bordering Bangladesh, reducing local tribes to a minority. For instance Dhubri, on the Indo-Bangladesh border and point of entry for Bangladeshis, has Bengali-speaking Muslims rising from 70.45 per cent in 1991 to 76 per cent according to the 2011 Census, in contrast to a marginal growth of the indigenous Assamese-speaking Muslims.

    Dr Sahni adds, “Illegal immigration itself has an internal dynamics within the Muslim population in Assam, where the Assamese Muslims also feel increasingly marginalized by the migrants from Bangladesh.” This has increased pressure on land in states like Assam resulting in a decline in cultivable land.

    In West Bengal from 1981-1991, ten years after the 1971 war (when India accommodated displaced refugees), the leap in the Muslim population in the state was much higher (almost 6% higher) than the national average.


    From 1991-2001 onwards the statistics show a stark downturn. This is exactly the time when migrants were moving away from the border into relatively prosperous areas like New Delhi and Mumbai where there is a constant demand for cheap labour.

    An extremely porous international border characterized by un-demarcated stretches, enclaves and adverse possessions makes for an easy entry into the country.

    They are led deeper into the country through a nexus of agents and political aspirants looking at creating vote banks by inadvertently issuing them ration cards, voter identity cards and passports.

    According to the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) , a New Delhi-based think tank, politically the Bangladeshi migrants influence the results of the elections in about 32% of the constituencies in Assam.

    Border politics


    Bangladesh has been inexorably maintaining that ‘there are no illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to India’. The country refused to accept any migrants during efforts made by India to deport them to their country of origin.

    In 2003 when the Indian government attempted to deport about 240 migrants to Bangladesh, both the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) responsible for manning Indo-Bangla border and its counterpart Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) tried to ‘push back’ these migrants leaving as many as 240 people stranded in the no man’s land between the two countries.

    Bangladesh refused to accept the deportees accusing India of expelling Bengali-speaking Indian Muslims. As a result they had to be sent back to New Delhi.

    As Dr Sahni puts it, “Bangladesh has systematically refused to accept the illegal immigrants after they are pushed back by India. Given the political salience and the reverberation it may have for Bangladesh domestic politics, both the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party do not accept the fact of illegal immigration into India from Bangladesh.” Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina is often looked at as being too pro-Indian.

    The BJP has been raising the issue of illegal migrants for more than 10 years. In this election, the party clearly mentioned that it is against giving refugee status to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India because most of them cross the border for business.

    [​IMG]

    However while its stance on ‘economic migrants’ is tough the party has a softened its attitude towards religious minorities from Bangladesh including Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and the Scheduled Caste people who move to India to escape persecution.

    This lack of consensus between the two countries has created a population that belongs nowhere. Their economic vulnerability makes them susceptible to criminal activities which are causing serious concerns to India’s security.

    As Dr Sahni explains, “Some of these migrants work as Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) couriers as well as arms smugglers, and are engaged in a range of other criminal activities, including drug, commodity, and cattle smuggling.”

    He adds that the border districts between India and Bangladesh, where most of these migrants are settled, provide ample opportunity for terrorist organizations creating networks in the Malda district of West Bengal in India. “The Purnia (Bihar)-Malda link has gradually been consolidated as a transit point for terrorists, between India and Bangladesh. The Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HuJI), Shahid Bilal, who is alleged to have masterminded several bomb blasts across India, was reportedly raising funds by running weapons between Malda and Bangladesh.”

    “Several other arrests have underlined Malda’s significance as a terror destination. On January 12, 2009, a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorist, identified as Safique Iliyas alias Deepak, was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) from Malda District. Safique, a resident of Rajshahi in Bangladesh, was instructed to spy on the movement of Army personnel in Siliguri in Darjeeling District”, Dr Sahni says.

    A stronger vigil at the border and the settlement of border disputes, apart from a concrete deportation agreement, can combat this to a large extent. As Sahni opines, “Both the countries should have tried to ascertain the enormity of the problem rather than skirting the issue of their failures, and laid down appropriate procedures for deportation in an amicable manner. India should have strengthened security along its border to stop further infiltration. The Bangladesh government should also have asked its forces to step up a vigil at the border. The settlement of border disputes, including the exchange of enclaves, which creates a situation of ambivalence along certain sections of the boundary, should have been expedited.“

    However India and Bangladesh do not have any tangible bilateral agreement on the procedure for deportation, added to that the position of Bangladesh on India’s push back policy has contributed to the intensification of the issue.

    Dr Sahni points out, “The PM-elect and his party have decided to review and improve border management. They have also talked about punitive measures to check illegal immigration. It remains to be seen whether and how these measures are effectively and efficiently implemented.”

    Jhinuk Chowdhury for RT

    Jhinuk Chowdhury is an India-based former journalist who currently works as an independent writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

    http://rt.com/op-edge/161056-bangladesh-migrants-citizens-india/

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    Interesting problem.

    Any solutions?
     
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  3. Voldemort

    Voldemort Senior Member Senior Member

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    We have created a country for them and we are full. They have to go bach or at least stop coming.
     
  4. Kaalapani

    Kaalapani Tihar Jail Banned

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    Seal the borders just like paki border and deport all those left.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Half a house is on the Indian side and half in Bangladesh in many places!
     
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  6. Kaalapani

    Kaalapani Tihar Jail Banned

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    establish border fencing and walls 500mts inside indian border and make them killing fields who want to crosss.simple.
     
  7. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    I hate to say this, but what is done is done. You cant force them into bay of bengal if the BD shamelessly refuses to acknowledge its own people.

    At the very least, the GoI should seal off the border to prevent the further immigration into india.

    While that bein mandatory, GoI can make a secret deal to take back the migrants with BD govt, offering them incentives and sops- say for instance electricity.

    GoI should provide refugee status to religious minorities from BD escaping prosecution there. GoI owes it to the Dhramic religious followers.


    And finally, if the BD refuses to take back the refugees, we can try converting them to Hinduism/Buddhism/ or even Christianity. Right wing groups like RSS should have an active role in this. I say this becuase the because, the biggest threat from illegal immigrants is not the economic constrain they put on us, but rather a cultural and religious one, which is apparant from the article.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Maybe the missionaries can work on them and convert them to being Christians.

    That way the bleeding hearts will have no reason to shout 'foul'.
     
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  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The land is extremely fertile and is cultivated right up to the border pillars. Sometimes the border line passes right through villages, even buildings.
     
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  10. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Dont know if you are serious or sarcastic sir , but yes. Christian conversion of illegals is also a good choice as it will not leave room for the liberals to rant against Hindutva. I will again say that the only problem with illegal bangladeshi immigration is a religio-political one. In fact, India is actually a beneficiary from an economic view point!
     
  11. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    @Ray sir, is it true Indian Bengalis don't like Bangladeshi Bengali being same as bengali?????
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I am not being sarcastic.

    I am merely being pragmatic.

    If the missionaries convert them, then the West, which is most vocal about repression, will not crow about Human Rights and Religious Freedom, since it is well known that the evangelists rule the roost there. So, they will be neutralised.

    Our bleeding heart Indian pseudo western drawing room 'liberal' copycats will not have reasons to caterwaul either.

    Nothing wrong in their continuing in their own religion, but these 'illegals' when they become legal may still carry the religious zeal that they experienced in Bangladesh, and the possibility of being misled is high. It would only give a bad name to the otherwise multitudes of Indian Muslims who have no truck with such fundamentalism or fundamentalist element.

    For instance the fundamentalists in Bihar, for all one knows, are those who, or their parents, have come to India after the Bangladeshis hounded them out as 'razakars' and they returned from where they had gone after Partition. Who are the losers? The genuine Indian Muslim.

    it is not the question of liking or disliking the Bangladeshi.

    It is just an economic question of their taking up jobs that are by right that of the Indians.

    Further, if they indulge in anti national activities, then it is the Bengalis of Bengal (to include Indian Bengali Muslims) who will get the bad name and be looked upon with distaste.

    It could also lead to unrest, from which Bengal has been saved so far.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  13. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    This is actually a huge misconception. When immigrants take up jobs, then it means extra hands for work and not loss of opportunity. For example, hundreds of Indian engineers/doctors emigrate to US. Does it make US more prosperous or less? Who is the loser due to that emigration- US or India?. Shy should this case be any different? From an economic viewpoint, immigrants are a good news overall for indian economy while they are a bad news from a religio-political one.
     
  14. Kaalapani

    Kaalapani Tihar Jail Banned

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    We dont need those bangladeshi immigrants we have more unemployed people in india.
     
  15. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    And US has less unemployed people?:dude: US is actually much more affected by un-employment and economic stagnation.

    Anyway who is benefitted most from emigration of doctors and engineers from India? US or India? Dont tell me US is the loser becuase it cant employ its engineers because of Indians stealing their jobs or that engineers/doctors there are not affected by Indians occupying their jobs
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
  16. Kaalapani

    Kaalapani Tihar Jail Banned

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    US want skilled people without highly educated Indians,CHines,koreans,Japs US would be a whore state with drugs and criminals.
     
  17. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Dude, I dont have all day to do this again and again. Just answer my question on who is the biggest beneficiary of immigration of doctors/engineers to US, is it US or the countries supplying them with manpower?

    If skilled labour is beneficial and wont cause unemployment- by your logic, why would unskilled labour cause the same? In fact unskilled labour can adapt for a lot of jobs unlike skilled labours, like a doctor who can only be a physician or an engineer who can do only his designated job.


    Seriously, start thinking outside the box for a change!


    Ok, I will give you one more example- have you heard of how sikhs emigrate to Canada in large scales(both legally and illegally). Have you heard stories of how they have nade themselves very prosperous with unskilled work first and businesses later? Did Canada benefit from that or not?

    And the drugs prostitution and shit is there in canada too, yes? So why dint the immigrants from india(sikhs) turn to that and instead became very successful unlike the african immigrants there who have increased crime everywhere? Its because its a cultural issue!
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
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  18. Kaalapani

    Kaalapani Tihar Jail Banned

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    We dont need those terrorist muslim bengalis to com to india soon the will be deported or be short .Live with it.

    Dont compare mullas with engineers and doctors.
     
  19. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    :dude: thats exactly my point. The problem due to illegal immirgation is a religio-political/cultural one and not an economic one.


    Ok let me turn it around- you think it would be good for the country if we allow immigration of skilled workers like doctors and engineers, who are orthodox muslims, from BD/Paki? My answer would be the same, be it skilled or unskilled- it would be disastrous. So why is that?:rolleyes:
     
  20. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    there is one forty space and end bangladeshI and an indian applied
    .
    bangladeshI will accept the work in low price
    .
    and indian is jobless
    .
    we have 121crore population and many jobless , we should give jobs to indian rather than bangladeshI
    .
    More jobless Americans losing benefits every week | Al Jazeera America
    .
    .
    those who traveled to america were skillfull and bangladeshi are not skillfull but illiterate
    .
    though number of jobless in america increasing day by day
     
  21. Kaalapani

    Kaalapani Tihar Jail Banned

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    Hello mad man problem with bangladeshi begger immigration is both economical and social one.
    They just do only one thing breed like pigs.
     

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