Silent invasion of India
August 21, 2011 9:34:19 PM by Joginder Singh
Illegal immigration from Pakistan and Bangladesh poses a serious threat to our internal security. Thanks to vote-bank politics, our politicians are indifferent.
Our international border is around 15,318 km long, of which our boundary with Bangladesh is 4,000 km long, running along West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura. It is the Government of India’s responsibility to guard the country’s international border and prevent foreigners from entering our territory illegally as well as control the entry of those travelling with valid documents. This is a responsibility that the Government has clearly failed to fulfil as was evident from a statement by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs: “As per information available, 1,283 Pakistani nationals (who presumably entered India legally) remain untraced/missing as of June 30, 2011.”
A month earlier, while replying to a query under the RTI Act in July, the Government had said: “It is not possible to estimate the total number of such foreign nationals, including Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, who have entered into the country without valid travel documents and are staying in the country since entry of such foreign nationals into the country is clandestine and surreptitious.” The response also added that over 73,000 people from various countries have stayed on even after their visas expired; nearly 50 per cent of these people were from Bangladesh and about 10 per cent were from Pakistan, according to data available as of December 31, 2009. In 1996, the then Union Minister for Home Affairs, Indrajit Gupta, had informed Parliament that over 25 million Bangladeshis were illegally living in India.
The fact remains that despite the threat of cross-border terrorism faced by the country from illegal immigrants, the Ministry of Affairs does not maintain a centralised source of information on people crossing the border to enter India from Pakistan and Bangladesh without valid documents. Except where it suits its own concerns, the Union Government refuses to act even in the face of judicial pronouncement. The Supreme Court held in 2005 that provisions of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act of 1983 were ultra vires to the Constitution and were accordingly struck down. The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Rules, 1984, were also determined to be ultra vires and hence were struck down.
The issue of illegal immigration has and continues to figure in high-level meetings related to internal security. It has figured prominently at the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security and Law and Order held in New Delhi. At this conference serious differences emerged among the north-eastern States on the issue of illegal immigration — some States openly accused Assam of contributing to the mounting problem of illegal immigration in the region.
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