Bangladeshi Influx: A Diplomatic Failure, Defense Failure or a Political Compromise

Posted on September 2, 2012


The problem of Bangladeshi influx is no longer a regional issue. Though it is quite a shame to say, but the actual concern of the nation to the problem has only been focused, when the sparks of this igniting problem led to a fire in South India. On the other hand, the eastern part of India was reeling to the problem of illegal migrant’s right from the time of independence.

The current movement against the illegal migrants gained national attention only when the riots in Assam took a communal angle. People throughout the nation have questioned, why has been there a Hindu-Muslim riot in Assam, which was considered one of the most religiously harmonious states of India? But the fact is the riot, though claimed to be a communal, is not actually. It has been the outcome of a long persistent problem, of illegal migration from Bangladesh.

On these migration problem, which is now a hit in the political as well as media arena of the country, what people have actually ignored has been the Assam Agitation of 1979. Going by the Wikipedia, which describes the Assam Movement as “a popular movement against undocumented migrants in Assam. It is regarded as one of the most vibrant democratic mass movements of independent India.”

Assam Movement Against Illegal Immigration

What the people of India are actually concerned in 2012, was a source of an outrageous campaign in Assam 33 years back. The question is, was the problem of illegal migration only a regional issue until it affected the financial capital Mumbai, after which it has been proclaimed as a national threat.

Another fact that I would like to highlight here is the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act or the IMDT act of 1983. People now are demanding the disposal of the illegal migrants. But long back in by the Indira Gandhi government in 1983 passed an act to detect illegal immigrants (from Bangladesh) and expel them from Assam. The Act was pushed through mainly on the grounds that it provided special protections against undue harassment to the “minorities” that were affected by the Assam Agitation.

So right from the Indira Gandhi era, there has been confusion amongst the masses on the minority communities, and any act of the mass against the illegal migrants was seen as a threat to the indigenous Muslim communities of the state, though it never was, or will be. It is only certain black minds residing in the country who are always in the thirst of getting in a communal issue to divide the country.

Coming back to the present times, the riots in Bodoland has brought in the issue of immigration to the national arena. So this is certainly the apt time to raise the question, Is the problem of Illegal immigration from Bangladesh, a diplomatic failure, a defense failure or a political compromise?

The reason behind it being a diplomatic failure is that, India has been the big brother to almost all of the South East Asian countries. Thus India-Bangladesh shares a vital relationship. India played a massive role in helping Bangladesh gain independence. India under Indira Gandhi fully supported the cause of the Bangladeshis and its troops and equipment were used to fight the Pakistani forces. The Indian Army also gave full support to the main Bangladeshi guerrilla force, the Mukti Bahini. Thus, it is quite a fact that India shares a very close diplomatic relationship with the independent Bangladesh. So were they unaware of the fact of this illegal migration from the country, which led to this phase that it has proclaimed the position of a national threat. Though numbers of MoU’s have been signed, yet a country like India couldn’t stop the immigrants.

On being a Defense failure. Due to the diplomatic failure the borders of the both the nation are yet to be sealed. But couldn’t the intelligence and army stop the influx of certain unwanted elements of National threat from entering the country alongside the plain immigrants. It has been in the news that, many foreign groups operate their notorious activities in India through Bangladesh. Yet, we sit idle doing nothing, until we are attacked in some national places of Interest. Till it is confined to NE and Assam, let us just sit around and counter only insurgency?

The last one seems to be the most valid one, a political compromise, the vote bank politics is very prevalent in India, and occasionally the role of these immigrants in the win of certain political groups have been raised, and as such, no such action has been taken to curb their entry into the nation.

So, basically the problem is now at its peak. There has been a cultural threat as well as a defense threat to the nation due to this illegal immigration. I have written this to the best of my knowledge and any corrections are welcomed. But as a resident of Assam, I felt like taking up this question of Diplomatic, Defense or Political Failure or Compromise.