Report says India set to deport illegal Muslim migrants from Assam
As US President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to deport illegal immigrants still remains a statement, India is set to officially throw its illegal immigrants from Bangladesh out of the country.
Assam, which shares its border with Bangladesh, has reportedly started a “detect-delete-deport campaign” to “weed out” migrants, mostly Bangladeshi Muslims, Washington Post reported.
Assam has witnessed worst communal clashes in the last few years, killing hundreds of people in fights between Muslims alleged to be infiltrators from Bangladesh and non-Muslims living in the region.
The recent efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants is believed to be in line with the ruling BJP’s policies. “The Hindu rate of population growth is declining. But the Muslim rate is rising. Most of the Muslims here are from Bangladesh,” Himanta Biswa Sarma, finance minister in the Assam government, told Washington Post.
“If this continues, the Assamese Hindus will become a minority soon; we will lose our language, our culture, our identity,” he added.
Assam shares a border with Bangladesh that stretches for about 250 km, with 40 per cent being wetlands, making crossing the border much easier. Authorities claim illegal migration would help terrorist groups with global backing to cross over the border to radicalise local youth. The latest drive is planned to throw out some of the more than 20 million illegal immigrants, officials says.
According to Samujjal Bhattacharya, an activist in the region, said the latest campaign is more important because now Islamic extremist groups from Bangladesh are also sending their people to India along with the immigrants on this route, the newspaper reported.
However, on the other hand, officials agree that the detection of illegal immigrants is not as easy as many have mingled with local populations over time.
“My father was born here. How many times do I need to shout that I am a citizen?” asked Mohibul Islam Badshah, a schoolteacher. According to latest reports, lakhs of people have already been forced to flee their homes to makeshift camps after clashes between Bodo tribes and Muslim villagers in the state.