Illegal immigration to India

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An illegal immigrant in India is a person residing in the country without an official permission as prescribed by relevant Indian law. Those who are explicitly granted refugee status do not fall under this category.

2001 India Census Gives information about Migrants but not exclusively Illegal Immigrants. Per 2001 Census Bangladeshi form the largest group of migrants in India followed by Pakistan.[1][2]

Demographics[edit]

Illegal immigration[edit]

An estimate made in the year 2000 placed the total number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India at 1.5 crore, with around 3 lakh entering every year. The rule of thumb for such illegal immigrants is that for each illegal person caught four get through. While many immigrants have settled in the border areas, some have moved on, even to faraway places such as Mumbai and Delhi.[3] During the UPA government, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, had made a statement in Parliament on 14 July 2004, that there were 12 million illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators living in India, and West Bengal topped the list with 5.7 million Bangladeshis. More recently, Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs in the NDA government has put the figure at around 20 million.[4] Critics point out that the Bengali politicians, particularly those from the ruling Trinamool Congress and the CPI (M), believe that a soft approach to the problem helps them to win Muslim votes.[5]

As per 2001 census there are 3,084,826 people in India who came from Bangladesh[1] No reliable numbers on illegal immigrants are currently available. Extrapolating the census data for the state of Assam alone gives a figure of 2 million.[6][7] Figures as high as 20 million are also reported in the government and media.[8][9] Samir Guha Roy of the Indian Statistical Institute called these estimates "motivatedly exaggerated". After examining the population growth and demographic statistics, Roy instead states that while a vast majority are illegal immigrants, significant numbers of internal migration is sometimes falsely thought to be immigrants. An analysis of the numbers by Roy revealed that on average around 91000 Bangladeshis illegally crossed over to India every year during the years 1981-1991[10]

The trip to India from Bangladesh is one of the cheapest in the world, with a trip costing around Rs.2000 (around $30 US), which includes the fee for the "Tour Operator". As Bangladeshi are cultural similar to the Bengali people in India, they are able to pass off as Indian citizens and settle down in any part of India to establish a far better future than they could in Bangladesh,[11] for a very small price. This false identity can be bolstered with false documentation available for as little as Rs.200 ($3 US) can even make them part of the vote bank.[10]

The Bangladesh Liberation War and continued political and economic turmoil in Bangladesh in the following decades forced some Bangladeshis to seek refuge in India. During the Bangladesh Liberation War at least 10 million Bangladeshis crossed into India illegal to seek refuge from widespread rape and genocide.[11] Most of them migrated to the border states, particularly West Bengal and Assam.[7] Due to persecution during genocide, illegal migrants have been defined in Assam Accord as those who infiltrated illegally after 24 December 1971.[7] This issue became more visible after the 1991 census when patterns of abnormally high growth rate of Muslims were observed in the border states Assam and West Bengal. In 1991 census Muslim population growth rates in these states were found to be much higher than the growth rates of the local Hindu population even after adjusting for the usual higher growth rate of Muslims observed throughout the country.[6][7][12][citation needed] See the following tables for detail (computation here).[6][7][12][13][14][15][16][17]

West Bengal[16] %Growth of Hindus %Growth of Muslims
1961-1971 25.75% 29.76%
1971-1981 21.37% 29.55%
1981-1991 21.09% 36.89%
1991-2001 14.23% 25.91%
1991-2011[17] 10.81% 21.81%
Assam[16] %Growth of Hindus %Growth of Muslims
1961-1971 34.49% 29.89%
1971-1991 41.89% 77.42%
1991-2001 14.95% 29.30%
2001-2011[17] 10.89% 29.59%
All India[16] %Growth of Hindus %Growth of Muslims
1961-1971 23.67% 30.84%
1971-1981 21.29% 22.95%
1981-1991 25.08% 34.54%
1991-2001 20.35% 36.02%
2001-2011[17] 16.76% 24.65%

Burmese immigrants[edit]

There are estimated 50,000-100,000 Burmese Chin immigrants residing in India, mostly in the Indian state of Mizoram and a small number is found in Delhi.[18][19][20]

Pakistani immigrants[edit]

India has thousands of people from Pakistan, living illegally, according to one figure from 2009, it was above 7,700.[21]

Afghanistan immigrants[edit]

By 2009, India had over 13,000 illegal immigrants from Afghanistan.[21]

Political concerns over Bangladeshi illegal immigrants[edit]

ABVP addressing about Bangladeshi illegals immigrants

Assam[edit]

In Assam, agitation against immigrants started as early as 1979, led by All Assam Students Union.[22] Their demand was to put a stop on the influx of immigrants and deportation of those who have already settled.[7] It gradually took violent form and ethnic violence started between Assamese and Bengalis, mostly Muslim. It eventually led to the infamous Nellie massacre in 1983 due to a controversy over the 1983 election.[23] In 1985 the Indian Government signed the Assam accord with the leaders of the agitation to stop the issue.[7][24] As per the accord India started building a fence along the Assam-Bangladesh border which is now almost complete.[25] However, Assam also has a large number of genuine Indian Muslim Bengalis. It is difficult to distinguish between illegal Bangladeshis and local Bengali speakers.[26] In some cases, genuine Indian citizens have been discriminated[7][27] Allegations exist that nationalist parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the Indian National Congress have discriminated against Bengali-speaking Muslims.[28] On the other hand, in some places reports of Bangladeshis being able to secure Indian ration and voter identity cards have come out.[29][30]

After 1991 census the changing demographic patterns in border districts became more visible.[6][7] It created anxiety and tension in India throughout the nineties. Both conservatives[31] as well as moderates[6] expressed concern on this issue. The first BJP government came into power in 1998 and subsequently ordered the construction of the Indo-Bangladesh barrier to stop migrants and illegal trade along the border. It was planned to enhance the already existing barrier in Assam and to encircle West Bengal, Tripura and Mizoram as well.[32][33][34]

West Bengal[edit]

The other Indian state affected by this problem, West Bengal, remained mostly calm during this period. However Indian newspapers reported that "the state government has reports that illegal Bangladeshi migrants have trickled into parts of rural Bengal, including Nandigram,[35] over the years, and settled down as sharecroppers with the help of local Left leaders. Though a majority of these immigrants became tillers, they lacked documents to prove the ownership of land.[35]"

The Government of Bangladesh has denied India's claims on illegal immigration.[36][37]

After 2001 census the anxiety somewhat reduced when the growth rates were found to have returned to near normal level, particularly in West Bengal, thus negating the fear that there was an unabated influx of migrants.[38][39] Although some concern remains.

The proportion of Muslims in West Bengal has grown from 19.85% in 1951 to 27.01% in 2011. That, ofcourse, does not have any reflection on immigration, it is generally attributed to higher growth rate amongst the Muslims.[40]However, when one has a closer look at the CD Blocks along the India-Bangladesh border questions obviously come up. The exceedingly high decadal population growth rate in certain CD Blocks, such as in Basirhat subdivision in North 24 Pargaganas district and CD Blocks along the riverine international border in Murshidabad district does raise concerns.

The decadal growth rate of population for West Bengal in 2001-11 was 13.93%.[41]The decadal growth of population in Basirhat I CD Block in 2001-2011 was 16.16%.[42] The decadal growth of population in Basirhat I CD Block in 1991-2001 was 20.94%.[43]The decadal growth of population in Hasnabad CD Block in 2001-2011 was 14.50%.[44] The decadal growth of population in Hasnabad CD Block in 1991-2001 was 17.47%.[45]The decadal growth rate of population in neighbouring Satkhira District in Bangladesh was 6.50% for the decade 2001-2011, down from 16.75% in the decade 1991-2001 and 17.90% in the decade 1981-1991.[46]

The decadal growth rates, for the decade 2001-2011, were still higher in the border areas of Murshidabad district. In Raghunathganj II CD Block it was 37.82%, the highest amongst all the CD Blocks in Murshidabad district, 34.09% in Samserganj CD Block, 30.82 in Suti II CD Block, 29.02% in Suti I CD Block, 23.62% in Lalgola CD Block, 22.24% In Bhagawangola II CD Block and 21.65% in Bhagawangola I CD Block.[47]The decadal growth rate of population in Chapai Nawabganj District was 15.59% for the decade 2001-2011, down from 21.67% in the decade 1991-2001.[48]The decadal growth rate of population in Rajshahi District was 13.48% for the decade 2001-2011, down from 21.19% in the decade 1991-2001. Both the districts are across the Ganges, in Bangladesh. [49]

In both the above cases the comparisons are between Bengali-speaking Muslim-majority areas, and hence the argument of higher growth rate amongst Muslims does not hold good. There are other similar examples also.

Mizoram[edit]

Bangladeshi Buddhist Chakma immigrants[50] from Bangladesh have settled in the southern part of Mizoram because they were [51] displaced by the construction of Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli River in 1962, the dam flooded 655 square kilometers and displaced over 100,000 people most of them Chakma people. As there was no rehabilitation and compensation, they fled from Bangladesh to India[52]. The Chakma people also resisted inclusion into Bangladesh during Bangladeshi Independence in 1971 through armed struggled led by Shanti Bahini because they were ethnically, culturally and religiously distinct, this voilent Confrontation between Shanti Bahini and Bangladeshi Army led to Chakma fleeing Bangladesh for India[53]

Kerala[edit]

Although Kerala is at a large distance from Bangladesh(~2500 km),Bangladeshi illegal migrants have been moving to Kerala owing to the high wages for unskilled and semi-skilled laborers, and also the presence of sizable Muslim population in the state. The Kerala police are reportedly finding it difficult to check the influx of these Bangladeshi illegal migrants.[54] Kerala State Intelligence officials said they found that a large section of Migrant labourers in Kerala claiming to be from West Bengal or even Assam were actually from Bangladesh.[55] Anti national activities have been reported ; the latest in which in August 2016, a native of west Bengal was arrested for insulting the national flag and he was later found to be an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh. There is said to be major racket at the borders of West Bengal and Assam with Bangladesh which provides illegal migrants with identity cards.[56]

Karnataka[edit]

Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh have occupied many places across Karnataka.In Bengaluru alone there are about 4 lacs illegal immigrants who are threat to nations security and to the society. These Illegal Immigrants have voters Id , Aadhar Card at their disposal where an actual citizen is denied or should wait for months together to get the official documents. Because of these intruders the state has scarcity of water and other resources. These illegal immigrants have set up a huge slum in and around Marathahalli in Bengaluru and threat the residents of Bengaluru. They have been living in Karnataka since 2008 and no action has been taken.

Higher judiciary's concerns over Bangaladeshi illegal immigrants[edit]

In 2005, a Supreme Court bench ruled Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act (IMDT) as unconstitutional while,[57] with reference to the Sinha Report,[58] maintained that the impact of the "aggression" represented by large-scale illegal migration from Bangladesh had made the life of the people of Assam specially one of seven sister which is Tripura the land of tiprasa "wholly insecure and the panic generated thereby had created fear psychosis" in other north-eastern States.[57] In August 2008, the Delhi High Court dismissed a petition by a Bangladeshi national against her deportation. The High Court ruled that the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants "pose a danger to India's internal security".[59]

Social concerns[edit]

Apart from immigrants a large numbers smugglers regularly cross the porous border along West Bengal into India.[60] They mainly engage in smuggling goods and livestock from India into Bangladesh to avoid high tariff imposed on some Indian goods by Bangladesh government.[60] Bangladeshi women and girls are also trafficked to India .[61] The Centre for Women and Children Studies estimated in 1998 that 27,000 Bangladeshis have been forced into prostitution in India.[62][63] According to CEDAW report, 1% of foreign prostitutes in India and 2.7% of prostitutes in Kolkata are from Bangladesh.[64]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Migrations to India". Retrieved 7 June 2014.
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  9. ^ Illegal Bangladeshi Immigration
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External links[edit]