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Bangladeshi Infiltration & "Ahomiya" Issues - Abhishek Joshi
The Prime Minister post his visit to Assam recently mentioned the ethnic riots as a blot on the nation. One is severely compelled to ask him on what made him make this statement passing on the buck of his personal follies and that of his Congress party which has ruled successively both in Center and the State since decades, on this ethnic incident in Assam. Why should I as a citizen or the commoner across the country, carry the albatross round his neck on behalf of the Congress and the PM..?
Is it not true that despite the Intelligence Inputs the State machinery veiled this threat, did sheer nothing since the alleged minority community and the vote bank equations, which has seen the Congress in power almost unchallenged since 1971 in Assam would disturb the precarious equilibrium. Is it not true that what we have witnessed in this country since past a week is a direct derivative of the policy of appeasement perpetually encouraging to make hay while the sun shines, gaping wide on the favoring policies towards the minorities. Is it not true that it was the Congress government which lead to the formation of laws which benefitted the illegal migration in hordes since 1971 and further was a begetter as a trade off of vote bank politics to sustain many a political careers, including of our PM having nominated from Assam into Rajya Sabha. Is it also not true that any country with the nature of this incident would have declared this as a national calamity with an estimated 400,000 people forced to live in in-human conditions in relief camps where there were no attempts for statement on this issue coming forth from either the newly elect President, PM himself, Home Minister P.Chidambram, State Chief Minister and most importantly from the ever elusive on national issues and cleverly opportunist, Chairperson of UPA, Smt. Sonia Gandhi.
One needs to look back upon history to fully comprehend the reasons why this simmering situation since decades unfolded itself. Following from the policy of “Lebensraum” of Nazi’s, “Brihad Bangaldesh” it has always been a dream of the Islamic fundamentalists which consider all areas of Assam, Tripura, West Bengal and few areas in Bihar as their natural territory. This policy was aggressively deployed post 1971 creation of Bangladesh resulting in encouraging to “push” the Bangladeshi’s into Indian territory. This they expected gradually over time would alter the demographic profile of the state resulting in making it easier for any future dismemberment of the region, merging into Bangladesh when adequate “majority” would have reached. Pakistan is and always has been more than willing to fund these activities.
The second, straw aiding this illegal migrant population was post the Assam accord signed by Rajiv Gandhi in 1983 through the (IMDT) Illegal Migration (Detection by Tribunals) Act 1983. The IMDT act was a “special provision” extended only to the state of Assam to allegedly contain the illegal migration. We have witnessed the state of comparable affairs under Article 370 for J&K, again under special provisions. The rest of country was to follow Foreigners Act 1946 but not Assam. The act mandated that the “Onus Probandi” (Onus of Proof) was on the complainant should he finds an illegal Bangladeshi and had to make efforts to register complaint by paying a fee of 25 Rs to the nearest tribunal set for this purpose. The Foreigners Act 1946 mandates the opposite where the “Onus” was on the identified alien for him to prove that he is a domiciled resident and should he be not, to be deported back to his native country by the agencies by 1st available mode. This clever maneuvering of laws favored Illegal Bangladeshi’s since the complainant had to collect all the details of illegality, wait for the tribunal proceedings and on the calling day all simply the Illegal immigrant had to do was to produce the ration card and go scot free under IMDT act.
This laid the foundation of abetting the Illegal Bangladeshi Migration ever since so much as impacting the demographic profile of the State of Assam. The impact is thus from 7% of minority community in districts bordering Bangladesh in 1983, the numbers have exponentially increased to 33% in 2000, resulting in an absolute change in the entire state population census. From 7 districts in 70’s, the minority communities of Bangladeshi Illegal Immigrants are comparatively now decisive in more than 40 Vidhan sabha Constituencies, from a total of 126 and in absolute majority in estimated 27 of them. Under the IMDT act 310,760 cases were identified, 10,761 made it to the tribunal and 1,481 were deported from Assam in comparison to W.Bengal which deported 470,000 illegal immigrants since 1983 to 2000 under the Foreigners Act 1946.
This act was challenged in 2005 and in one of the historic judgments delivered by a Hon’ble Supreme Court bench of Justice Lahoti, Mathur and Balasubramaniyan, quashed the IMDT act as “ultra vires” and hence unconstitutional. The bench came down heavily on the central government on the issue of Bangladeshi migrants and in strong words rebuked the Central Government for failing to contain the issue.
This followed further in another judgment of Guwahati High Court as recent as 2008, where a Pakistani national was found illegally in Assam, conveniently also contested the 1996 State assembly elections and was detained claiming to be an Indian citizen with forged documents. The High Court again came more heavily on the then Congress government mentioning that “these illegal immigrants have come to alter the demographic profile of the state impacting its culture, language and script, seemingly turning now to be the “kingmakers” exploiting our flawed system. Sri Prakash Jaiswal on floor of Rajya Sabha in July 2004 – UPA I had made a statement that as per last collected census there were 1.26 Crores Illegal Bangladeshi living in 17 States and UT’s in the country, the count until December 2000. Under pressure from Minority vote bank clusters in Assam, none other than the Prime Minister himself, dismissed these numbers as mere hear say..!
The menace has over grown into the system ever since. By even a paperback envelope calculation there are roughly around 5 Crores Illegal Bangladeshi living in our country now penetrated almost equally in all states and UT’s. A Congress followed policy which has seen the ethnic Ahomiya Bodo community struggling to survive for its limited sustenance of land, natural resources, habitat, culture, script and its nationalistic temperament confronting the Illegal Bangaldeshi’s.
Just two days back the Cabinet also cleared the Land Border Agreement Proposal in its meeting. The LBA dubbed as a bilateral achievement to appease Bangladesh agrees to settle the border disputes over flexing boundaries by agreeing to a “status quo”, evidentially to accept “officially” the change in ghetto’s of these illegal migrants bringing them into our country and strategically acceding request of all claims of Bangladesh. Effort is now to seek support of all opposition parties; especially BJP to ensure this provision is embedded into the same act through a constitutional amendment.
Mere symbolic protest perhaps would not let heed the government to dissuade itself from its sinister designs of aiding and abetting the influx of illegal migrants, a practice which it has continued with impunity since forever and certainly more needs to be done to ensure the present government is answerable to the nation for its follies. The need of the hour is to open up dialogues with all nationalistic organizations across the country, especially in Assam working on this issue, bring up the public awareness on the menace of Illegal Bangladeshi migrants pillaging our resources, infrastructure, employments and most importantly our ethnic identity as a nation and build up a movement with firm focus to not to have repeat of these incidents for future, more ever than now proactively.
If not, let’s notcomplain and heartily share the “blot” of this ghastly incident of ethniccleansing as a citizen of this country, offered so very graciously by our very own Hon’ble Prime Minister.
(Full text of the speech made by the author on Assam Hindu’s and Bangladeshi Infiltration Issue at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 29th July)
(Author is an Activist and Student of International Law – views expressed is personal)
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