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Why Modi wasn't joking in West Bengal

April 28, 2014 12:54 IST

Why Modi wasn't joking about illegal immigrants

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Vicky Nanjappa

Narendra Modi on Sunday promised to pack up and send back all illegal immigrants from Bangladesh if his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, comes to power.

Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa examines the problem

"After May 16, Bangladeshis better be prepared with their bags packed" -- Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi's remarks at a campaign rally on Sunday in Serampore in West Bengal clearly suggested his party’s plan of action vis-à-vis illegal migrants if it were to take over reins from the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.

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As per official statistics, there are around 86,000 Bangladeshi immigrants living in India. Keep aside the official statistic, this number leaps much higher.

The UPA government claims that in the last three years, around 24,000 Bangladeshi nationals have been deported.

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Why Modi wasn't joking about illegal immigrants

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Vicky Nanjappa

According to reports, West Bengal, Assam and Bihar have witnessed the biggest influx of Bangladeshi immigrants.

In these states, there are agencies that handle these immigrants through illegal means.

The touts give them shelter and -- with the connivance of local politicians -- hand out nationality documents such as a voter ID cards; sometimes even Aadhar cards.

This makes it difficult for agencies to draw out a list and deport them, say sources.

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Why Modi wasn't joking about illegal immigrants

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Vicky Nanjappa

The bigger threat pertains to national security.

Along with illegal immigrants come many of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami foot soldiers.

They stay at camps and slowly move to other parts of the country.

There are a good number of Bangladeshi immigrants who have moved to places like Mangalore, Chennai and Kochi.

Possession of forged documents has made authorities’ task of keeping a track on immigrants difficult.

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Why Modi wasn't joking about illegal immigrants

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Vicky Nanjappa

The other part of the problem is political patronage.

The latest drive in Bangladesh against the Jamaat-e-Islami has had its effects in India as well.

Local politicians in West Bengal have taken it upon themselves to shield members of the Jamaat and also the Islamic Chaatra Shibir, says an Intelligence Bureau report.

The report further says that till date, there have been over 40 operatives from Bangladesh who have taken shelter in India.




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