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ISI, DGFI plan to bleed India using Bangladeshi migrants

Last updated on: September 7, 2012 16:45 IST

ISI, DGFI plan to bleed India using Bangladeshi migrants

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Vicky Nanjappa

Vicky Nanjappa analyses the threat that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh are posing for country

The issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh is assuming worrying proportions by the day.

The arrest of a couple of illegal immigrants travelling to Kerala on fake identification cards and documentation from a train from Karnataka -- the police were believed to have been helped by the members of BJP's students' union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad -- has further fuelled the debate. 

While Assam witnessed riots over the issue, the fact remains that many of these illegal immigrants are gradually making their way into other parts of the country, especially West Bengal, Kerala and coastal Karnataka.

A large part of the problem lies in the easy access to fake documents.

According to police officials, many Bangladeshis are here in search of a livelihood, but then there are many who indulge in illegal activities like smuggling drugs and sometimes weapons.

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Image: Images used for representational purposes only
Photographs: Reuters

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They come into the country through West Bengal and gradually move to other parts of the country. While touts and middlemen help them with documents, there are others who take advantage of their poverty and lure them to carry out illegal activities.

The Intelligence Bureau points out that the problem emanated from a devious agenda to create a Greater East Pakistan/Bangladesh.

The first target for Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence and Bangladesh's Directorate General of Forces Intelligence were the north-eastern states.

Late Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in his book, said: "It would be wrong to think that Kashmir is the only dispute that divides India and Pakistan, though undoubtedly the most significant. One at least is nearly as important as the Kashmir dispute, that of Assam and some districts of India adjacent to East Pakistan. To these Pakistan has very good claims."

Late Bangladeshi leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his book, Eastern Pakistan: Its Population and Economics, says, "Because Eastern Pakistan must have sufficient land for its expansion and because Assam has abundant forests and mineral resources, coal, petroleum etc, Eastern Pakistan must include Assam to be financially and economically strong".

It is very clear from the records of the Intelligence Bureau that both the ISI and the DGFI had a specific role to play in the issue of illegal immigration.

They initiated their campaign at Assam and have now moved in to other states as well.

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Photographs: Reuters

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While in Assam they had a specific agenda of creating a Greater East Pakistan, today the issue has larger connotations. They (ISI and DGFI) are aware that large scale migration will cause a great deal of duress not only to security agencies, but there is bound to be conflict between the locals and these people as the latter would snatch their livelihood by offering to work for a very low price.

While dealing with issue, former Assam Governor S K Sinha said that secular parties and minorities do not see any danger from illegal migration. They believe that most of the so-called migrants are Bengali-speaking Indian Muslims and that the issue had been unnecessarily blown out of proportion. They fear that in the garb of deporting foreigners, Indian Muslims will be harassed.

The shadowy men behind the scene

T Nasir, an accused in the serial blasts in Bengaluru, had told his interrogators that he had managed cross the Indo-Bangladesh border with much ease. He claimed to have bribed some of the guards on the border before making his way in and out of the country.

While detailing this issue, the Indian Intelligence says that the touts who provide the migrants with fake documentation initially used to operate around borders, but now had spread their operations across the country.

The problem begins in Bangladesh where there is a network that has been set up by the agencies there. Local touts help these people gain safe entry into India. While their job ends there, there are many within India who provide them with documents identifying them as legal residents of India.

Many have even managed to get voter and ration cards. A nexus with local parties facilitates this process, IB sources claim.

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Photographs: Reuters

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In Assam, many illegal immigrants had land tax records in their possession.

This, the police say, is making the issue extremely hard to deal with.

Adding to the woes of the police are some political forces and human rights organisations who block their way claiming that innocents were being harassed under the garb of cleaning up the mess.

The middle men who help these illegal migrants ensure that these people do not stay on too long in one village. They are moved to other parts of the country before being detected.

Various crimes go undetected, as many groups use these people as foot soldiers; there is never any data on them that would help the police track them.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: DGFI , ISI , India , Assam

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The problem down south

An officer in Kochi told rediff.com that the influx into Kerala is rising steadily.

"We have carried out many arrests in the past couple of years. They come down from north-eastern states and from northern India through Karnataka and make their way into Kerala. We get alerts on a regular basis regarding their movement. In Kerala, it has however been found that these persons do not come in search of jobs, but for illegal activities. In all, some 150 such persons have been arrested. During investigation, some were found to be in possession of fake currency while others had drugs on them. We strongly suspect that terrorists are using these persons to undertake ground work and also to help pass on funds for such operations. The problem has been biggest in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts where these persons enter and take up jobs in small scale industries," he says.

The problem is quite large in coastal Karnataka as well.

There is a lot of construction activity on, especially in Mangalore, and the demand for labour is very high. Site owners often look for cheap labour; this is where illegal migrants enter the picture.

Despite the government's strict instruction not to appoint people without valid documentation, they continue to hire them. However, what builders do not realise is that they are contributing to a larger problem, which is made use of by a crime and terrorist syndicate.

When the Varanasi blast took place, the police were certain that it was the job of the Indian Mujahideen. However, they were never able to track the foot soldiers since the IM used migrant labourers to plant the bombs.

Security agencies say if the issue is not controlled at the lowest level, it could snow ball into something major.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: DGFI , ISI , Kerala , Karnataka

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