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Anti-immigration moves - not a one-way traffic


The Central Government is in a crusade against illegal immigrants and infiltrators.   The government,  which has scarce time for serious deliberations about economic and social security in the coutnry - with an economy nosediving every day -  is on the other hand intensifying its thrust to identify and expel Assam-model 'foreign' immigrants citing internal security.  The statements coming each day from the ruling party's chief and home minister Amit Shah and other leaders who toe his line, would sound as though the panecea for any crisis of the country is to prepare a citizens' register,  identify the illegals of the population and expel them.

The Centre however has not made clear what will be done with those whose citizenship cannot be proved,  what their future will be within the country,  where the illegal immigrants from across the border will be deported to or to which contry they will be transferred.   The central government and BJP have been swearing time and again that the majority of illegals in Assam are from Bangladesh.  But it is not clear whether they will be transferred to that country and whether Bangladesh will be prepared to accept them.   And this issue was not taken up with Sheikh Hasina Wazed the prime minister of Bangladesh - India's close ally - when she visited India recently.   Nothwithstanding that,  the sangh parivar is at its strident pitch with declaration of war on illegal immigrants.   In the current election in Haryana and Maharashtra,  they raise the promise of implementing a National Register of Citizens (NRC), as a major campaign slogan.  And refugee camps are being built in Goalpara in Assam at a cost of Rs 45 crore that can accommodate 3,000, a similar one in Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra and in Nelamangala near Bengaluru in Karnataka too.  

The pledge of Amit Shah is that by the general election in 2024,  NRC will be implemented across the country.  In addition,  the home minister is also reiterating over and over that this scrutiny will apply only to the Muslims who migrated to India or their descendants,  and those other than them will be protected through the new citizenship bill that is in the works.  Thus, the sangh parivar has turned the anti-immigrant move into a trump card to make communal polarisation in the country and to capture power through it.  This may be fine to gain a temporary political profit,  but the ramifications of such a move will be beyond the predictable,  as many political pundits and statesmen have been predicting.

News recently emerging from Bangladesh indicate that such predictions are becoming real.   Following the path of India,  voices in Bangladesh have also started being raised against illegal immigrants.  Bangaldesh media report that there are five lakh Hindi-speaking Biharis living as illegal immigrants there and that infiltration of illegals is increasing by the day.   Prominent media of the country have started writing about the presence of 10 lakh illegals in the country and demanding that a full-time agency be appoiunted to study about this threat.  Their allegation is that large-scale influx to Bangaldesh is happening from India,  Pakistan and Nigereia.  In 2017,  Indians sent home remittances of 12.60 crore US dollars.  Right after Modi government came to power and started talking against Bangladeshi immigrants,  political observers in that country had warned that there would be counter-moves from their country too.  The reasons for the flow to Bangladesh are believed to be the revival in its economy and growth in GDP.

The accelerated chase after Bangladeshi immigrants,  has also intensified the moves there against foreigners including Indians.   It is not only in neighbouring countries, but in many parts of the world incluidng America and Europe too,  illegal entry of Indians has been happening at no mean rate. Last Friday,  a batch of 311 such aspirant immigrants seeking illegal entry  to US were deported from Mexico to India.  US media has,  quoting Pew Research Centre,  reported that India is the country sending the most number of illegal immigrants to the US.  Figures tell that along with Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala, the nationality causing more headache to America is India.  And in different Gulf states,  search and deportaion operations happen against illegal residents at almost regular intervals. It is amidst all this phenomena around us that the government of India and the party leading it,  have ventured with a deportation mission against illegal immigration,  using it as a political weapon.   But such moves,  the happenings  right from Mexico to Bangladesh warn,   will boomerang on us as well.

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