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A growing menace - The Hindustan Times

Editorial ()
January 7, 1999

Title: A growing menace
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: January 7, 1999

The Union Government yet to react to Assam Governor S. K.
Sinha's somewhat unconventional report warning the Centre of the
dangerous implications of the steadily rising rate of illegal
entry of Bangladeshi and other nationals into Assam and the
North-Eastern region. But it will find it difficult not to
respond to an SOS from an unexpected quarters. West Bengal Home
Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya has dropped a bombshell of sorts
by expressing serious concern over the continuing infiltration
from across the border. Mr Bhattacharya's contention is a
virtual endorsement of the BJP's line of thinking on the
subject. Only last year when the Maharashtra Government took
hundreds of alleged Bangladeshis by train to be deported to
Bangladesh, the West Bengal Government denounced the move. Now
the State Government has admitted that border fencing alone
could keep a check on illegal immigrants. The problem of
infiltration is no longer confined to the North-Eastern States.
West Bengal, Bihar and even the national capital have to contend
with the problem. As far as the North-Eastern region is
concerned, the danger signals are there for all to see. No
State has witnessed the kind of demographic disequilibrium as
Tripura has, caused by the large-scale influx of migrants from
Bangladesh. The original inhabitants have become a minority in
their own land. The influx of migrants has disrupted the matrix
of social relationships and the intensity of political rivalries
between tribals and non-tribals has polarised the polity.
Economically, the problem of infiltration has cast a heavy
burden on the economic infrastructure in the region. The
Government has, in recent years, come up with various schemes
such as border fencing, issuance of identity cards and work
permits, etc. But a comprehensive policy is ,nowhere in sight.
To claim that no Bangladeshi or foreign nationals are residing
in the country or to maintain that they are about to swamp the
Indian states in the region would be incorrect; but to sit on
the problem will be a folly.
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: January 7, 1999

The Union Government yet to react to Assam Governor S. K.
Sinha's somewhat unconventional report warning the Centre of the
dangerous implications of the steadily rising rate of illegal
entry of Bangladeshi and other nationals into Assam and the
North-Eastern region. But it will find it difficult not to
respond to an SOS from an unexpected quarters. West Bengal Home
Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya has dropped a bombshell of sorts
by expressing serious concern over the continuing infiltration
from across the border. Mr Bhattacharya's contention is a
virtual endorsement of the BJP's line of thinking on the
subject. Only last year when the Maharashtra Government took
hundreds of alleged Bangladeshis by train to be deported to
Bangladesh, the West Bengal Government denounced the move. Now
the State Government has admitted that border fencing alone
could keep a check on illegal immigrants. The problem of
infiltration is no longer confined to the North-Eastern States.
West Bengal, Bihar and even the national capital have to contend
with the problem. As far as the North-Eastern region is
concerned, the danger signals are there for all to see. No
State has witnessed the kind of demographic disequilibrium as
Tripura has, caused by the large-scale influx of migrants from
Bangladesh. The original inhabitants have become a minority in
their own land. The influx of migrants has disrupted the matrix
of social relationships and the intensity of political rivalries
between tribals and non-tribals has polarised the polity.
Economically, the problem of infiltration has cast a heavy
burden on the economic infrastructure in the region. The
Government has, in recent years, come up with various schemes
such as border fencing, issuance of identity cards and work
permits, etc. But a comprehensive policy is ,nowhere in sight.
To claim that no Bangladeshi or foreign nationals are residing
in the country or to maintain that they are about to swamp the
Indian states in the region would be incorrect; but to sit on
the problem will be a folly.


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