Illegal Immigrantion is a ticking time bomb of serious demographic changes and communal clashes in India, as proved by the recent anti-CAA protests across the country. Massive illegal immigration of Muslims from Bangladesh is a precursor to the strident demand for a separate Muslim State.
Independent India has seldom seen such tough situations as it is currently experiencing. While being engaged in an all-out war against the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic downturn, our nation also faces a threat on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China over Ladakh. Meanwhile, Nepal's recent aggressive posturing over its borders with India has only added cause for concern. Furthermore, Pakistan continues to be as irksome and annoying a neighbour as it has always been.
As such, India is required to mobilise all its resources to emerge victorious on all these fronts. This is indeed an unenviable situation for a nation, aspiring to emerge as a key player in the fast-evolving new global order. Aside from the challenges enumerated above, what ails India the most? It is the ticking time bomb of serious demographic changes and communal clashes, precursors to a strident demand for a separate Muslim State likely given the massive illegal immigration of Muslims from Bangladesh.
Threat to Internal Stability
The illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh infiltrate into India either to create trouble for our country or for employment opportunities. In either case, they are not welcome and are subject to apprehension and deportation. This is provided for in the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was legislated by the Indian Parliament soon after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and before the outbreak of Covid-19. Frustrated Opposition parties like the Congress Party, Indian Union Muslims League (IUML), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) ganged up to scuttle the legislation which had already successfully cruised the legislative process in the Parliament.
For the sake of their political survival by appeasing the Muslims community, the Opposition parties tried to settle scores with the BJP, on the road after failing in the Parliament. Their nefarious mission was readily supported by anti-national elements like the jihadis and die-hard clergy as well as Urban Naxals, Break-India gangs, unprincipled Bollywood celebrities, and other enemies of democracy of all hues and shades. Muslim women, young students and children were misfed wrong information and brainwashed into believing that they would be deported from India on some technical grounds or some other reason such as non-availability of a citizenship document or their inability to supply information about their parentage, etc.
They were provoked into becoming foot-soldiers of a movement of street protests and vociferous rallies, drawn out on narrow communal lines. Such misguided people were even paid a daily allowance to make their time spent in raising slogans and giving vent to emotional outpourings and vituperative attacks against the government, the BJP and the RSS, worth the while. Soundbites of women expressing grief and agony over the perceived injustice brought upon them by the CAA were telecast and given wide publicity to enlist wider public support at home and sympathy abroad.
To counter the canards spread and the false propaganda orchestrated, the Modi-led NDA government repeatedly asserted its position that not a single bonafide Indian citizen would come to grief because of CAA or any earlier legislation or the ones to be enacted in the future. At the same time, the Union government has been unequivocal about segregating the chaff from the grain. The illegal immigrants unlawfully staying in India will be apprehended and deported as per the law of the land.
Despite the huge uproar at various flashpoints in different parts of our country, including the national capital that had the dubious privilege of witnessing communal clashes which claimed quite a few lives, including those of some security officials, and damage to public and private property, the government has not relented in implementing the CAA. This kind of political unrest, instigated and orchestrated by the anti-national elements is an unfortunate reminder of the humongous human tragedy of unmatched proportions, which had marked the partition of the country in 1947.
It is also a sad forewarning to possible recurrences of such tragedies if the demands of the protestors, nay their paymasters, were not met. It is noteworthy that the slogans raised in the anti-CAA protests included a demand for a separate Muslim country on the lines of Pakistan. It is redundant to state that a large number of Muslims in India is peace-loving and is inimical to damaging either the harmonious social fabric or territorial integrity of the nation.
Nevertheless, the fact that the recent incidents pointed towards a growing number of anti-nationals rallying around enemies of democracy to cause irreparable damage to the nation cannot be ruled out. From where did the anti-nationals spring? India has always had its fair share of hardcore Communists and Urban Naxals that propagate in favour of a people's revolt against the establishment in the name of class struggle. Additionally, we have been witnessing the emergence of die-hard jihadi elements that are active in recruiting new entrants to the cause of Ghazwa-e-Hind, the ultimate Islamic conquest of India.
In States like Kerala, ruled by the Communist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, with a strong Islamic movement enjoying the state patronage, and the nearby States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, a section of the youth is successfully brainwashed and turned into becoming the foot soldiers of the Pan-Islamic movement. In the rest of the country too, die-hard clergy take over the propagation of the dubious cause among the Muslims who live in self-imposed isolation.
Add to the above, the thousands of illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh, that are happy to join the nefarious cadre, for a pittance and assured-stay in India. The resultant rag-tag grouping of anti-nationals is a highly explosive cocktail, waiting for a signal from their paymasters to foment communal trouble, capable of breaking the nation. In some Indian states, especially in the northeast, illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh add up to such a disproportionately large number that the locals feel overwhelmed by these outsiders.
According to a written reply by Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs tabled in Rajya Sabha in 2016, around 20 million illegal immigrants from Bangladesh are staying in India. They are spread practically all over India, like Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Delhi, Maharashtra, Telengana, etc, working as cheap labour in factories and other commercial establishments and as household servants. It is not possible to have their precise State-wide distribution, as per the MoS.
Go Back They Must
Given their appearance, they easily merge with the local populace. In the absence of authentic travel documents like Passport, and other bonafide documents like Aadhar Card, Driving Licence, PAN Card, Ration Card or Voter’s Identity Card, it is practically impossible to pin them down to their nationality. But a large number of them manage, as has been noted, to obtain fake documents for a price from corrupt officials in non-BJP-ruled States. However, the Central government is determined to weed them out by implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across all the Indian states.
Although it is a long haul, the BJP is committed to identifying the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and deporting them, no matter how arduous the exercise. Although there is stiff resistance to this move by some Opposition parties like the Congress, the CPI(M) and the TMC, the NDA government is bent upon seeing the exercise through as it is a must for the very survival of our country. There can be no compromise when it comes to fighting an existential crisis.
(Author is a Chartered Accountant, author and blogger. He has served as an Independent Director on the Boards of India’s most influential public sector banks)