Woes of today’s South Asia – II

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Continued from Part – I

How illegal Bangladeshi infiltration has changed the demography of several Indian states?

Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants form the largest group of migrants in India. According to 2001 census there are 3,084,826 illegal Bangladeshis in India. Whereas some reports published in Indian media shows the figure as high as 20 million. This flow of people from across the border has completely changed the demography of several Indian states. The most affected are Assam, West Bengal & Bihar. There is hardly any state in India that doesn’t witness this Bangladeshi invasion. Let’s discuss this one by one.

Assam – One of the seven northeastern states of India is facing this problem of illegal migrants since independence or we can even say since British era. The impact of cross border migration is so devastating that the Hindus who are almost 65% today will get reduced to minority by 2040. The current Muslim population in Assam is approx 31% according to 2001 census but the rate at which its growing needs to be observed closely. Although there have been some Muslim population in Assam for several centuries but most Muslims are recent settlers from Bangladesh. According to 2001 census the various religious group living in Assam are 64.9% Hindu, 30.9% Muslim, 3.7% Christian and 0.5% other religion. The proportion of Muslim population in Assam is significantly higher than that of the country as a whole. Strikingly, Assam occupies second position after Jammu and Kashmir in terms of proportion of Muslim population in the country. The growth rate of various religions in Assam is shown below.
 
 
It is seen in table-1 that during 1951-2001 the Muslim population increased by 6% whereas Hindu population declined by 7.2%. The percentage change of Christian and other religion during this period are 1.7 and -0.5% respectively. Thus if the change of proportion of religious population in the last 30 years continues then Hindu and other religion become minority in Assam in comparison to combined proportion of Muslim and Christian population after 2040. This significantly high growth of Muslim population in the state is due to the consequence of large scale Muslim migration from Bangladesh and also prevalence of high birth rate. As a result according to 2001 census the percentage of Muslim population in some districts like Dhuburi(74.3), Barpeta(59.4), Goalpara(53.7), Nagoan(51.0), Karimganj(52.3), Hailakandi(57.6) have already occupied dominant position.
 
West Bengal – Is a state in the eastern region & the fourth-most populous state of India sharing an international border of 2216.7 Km with Bangladesh. As Assam, West Bengal is also witnessing a similar & continuous flow of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh changing its religious demography rapidly. Statistics show that this change in demography due to mass movement of people from across the border will soon take the state to an explosive situation. During the 1951-2001 period, the contrast between a decline in Hindu population and an extraordinary upswing in Muslim population is indeed remarkable in every district of West Bengal. In a number of districts, the rate of growth of the Muslim population is double or more than double that of the Hindu population. Growth rates of Hindus and Muslims are 198.54% and 310.93% respectively during 1951-2001. Population share of Hindus and Muslims in 1951 was 78.45% and 19.85% respectively, but during the last fifth years, the share of Hindus in West Bengal has come down to 72.47%—a decrease by 6%—whereas the share of Muslims has increased to 25.25%—an increase of 5.40%. Another important aspect of growth of population as per 2001 Census is in the group of 0-6 year’s population. The growth rate of Hindus and Muslims in this group stood at 12.69% and 18.7% respectively and the share of this group (0-6) of Muslims among all religions in West Bengal is 33.17%, though population share of Muslims in the State is only 25.25%. On the other hand, the share of Hindus in the same population group (0-6) is only 64.61% in spite of their population share of 72.47%. This excessive increase of 0-6 group of population in the Muslim society in West Bengal tends towards serious consequences. During last four decades there has been a ceaseless and significant demographic change in the districts of West Bengal, particularly districts adjoining Bangladesh. Now both sides of the Indo-Bangladesh border region are inhabited by a population which is ethnically, culturally, linguistically and religiously identical. Already, thus, it has taken the shape of a demographic invasion.
 
 
Bihar– A north Indian state is the third largest state in terms of population and 12th in terms of geographical size. Bihar is also the third most affected state by the illegal Bangladeshi infiltration. As per 2001 census districts which have a high Muslim population include, in descending order Kishanganj 78%, Katihar 43%, Araria 41%, Purnia 37%, Darbhanga 23%, Sitamarhi 21%, West Champaran 21%, East Champaran 19%. Surprisingly this rise is limited to the border districts of the state leading to several doubts. The overall growth rate of Muslims in Bihar is 36.5% much higher than the growth rate of Hindus 23.4%. This high growth rate among Muslims is not only because of high birth rate but also due to illegal infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims in Indian territories. Bangladeshi’s who are crossing over to India via Bangladesh-West Bengal border moves to other territories after illegally acquiring Indian documents with the help of political leaders & anti-India network working in the border districts of India to help illegal immigrants acquire Indian documents. They then settle into the densely populated Muslim areas of other Indian states like Bihar, Orrisa, Mumbai (Maharashtra), Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, etc. All this leads to a steep rise in the share of Muslim population in the state from 12.34% in 1951 to 16.53% in 2001 showing a rise of 4.19% in Muslim population but on the other hand Hindu population of the state has declined from 87.61% in 1951 to 83.40% in 2001 a fall of 4.21%. 
 
Other than the above discussed three states, there is hardly any state in India that does not witness any illegal Bangladeshi Migrants. Among the metro cities Delhi & Mumbai are among the most affected states by Bangladeshi immigrants. According to Ramesh Bagwe, Minister of State for Home (Maharashtra), their number in Maharashtra could be 3.5 lakh out of which more than 1 lakh are in Mumbai itself.  Their presence in high number is also leading to several law and order problems, Mumbai faced one on August 11, 2012. According to a report published in The Indian Express, a total of 18,742 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants have been deported from Delhi since 2005. It also mentioned Delhi & West Bengal as the heaven for illegal Bangladeshi’s.  According to another report published in The Times of India, during January 2009 to December 2011 there were over 82,585 Bangladeshis who travelled to India on their official travel documents & choose not to return back. Out of which only 23,653 could be traced and deported, rest 58,932 are still untraced. In an affidavit filed, the Delhi government in 2009 informed Delhi High court that 40,300 illegal migrants from Bangladesh have been deported since 2003
 
As per the official figure of 2001 census there are approx 3,084,826 illegal Bangladeshi’s living in India. But according to several media reports & time to time comments by several Indian politicians the number could be as high as 2 crore.  In the past 60 years illegal Bangladeshi population have turned into a political vote bank of several Indian political parties. Now just because of this vote bank politics, nothing concrete has been done till date to control this illegal cross-border immigration.
 
It looks as if the Indian govt has forgotten that, “The growth and decline of populations and changes in the relative balance between various groups of religion within a population play a crucial role in the rise and fall of nations and even civilisation.” This is an invasion from across the border – the sooner India realise the better it is.

 

 

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