Refugee and IndiaSeptember 25, 2018
The global issue of illegal immigrants now hit India, as the nation stood strongly to deal with it. In the last few decades, India emerged as a most peaceful and safe country to live in South Asia. Post-independence, there were major turbulent incidents in neighboring countries-China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, which resulted in mass infiltration in India.
Historically, India always maintained a human approach and provided safe-heaven in order to tackle an influx of people from violence-hit nations. But since the last couple of years, the issue has taken political color as the presence of refugees or illegal immigrants yielded number issues, including a crisis of resources. Assam appeared as the biggest victim of India’s lenient policy on illegal migrants.
Meanwhile, right-wing outfits rigorously keep raising the issue in the political domain. Since pro-right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in Centre and several states including Assam, the government started addressing the socially and religiously very sensitive subject. Good thing is that the judiciary (Supreme Court) is in the loop while dealing with the illegal immigration issue.
So far illegal immigrants in the northeast state- Assam is concerned, the state overburdened with lakhs of Bangladeshi citizens who entered India during and post 1971 India-Pakistan war. However, the Registrar General of India (RGI) had started National Register of Citizen (NRC) in 2010 but due to political uproars, the then Congress government had deferred the survey.
Again in 2015, it was revived after the Supreme Court’s directive. When BJP first time came to power in Assam 2016 by criticizing minority appeasement policy, the NRC got a decisive push. NRC has intensively, under the monitoring of the Apex Court, done the massive survey and came out with the conclusion that as many as around 40 lakh Bangladesh are living in the state without proper documents.
However, the government said that the people who are not in the NRC list will get chances to prove their bona fide. The completion of NRC is a big and much-needed relief as the state witnessed some of the gruesome massacres over the issue of outsiders.
What will happen to the huge number 40 lakh people?
The government said that post-NRC, the number will reduce as they will get another chance to prove their citizenship. And the state government also mentioned that no facilities will be withdrawn from them and Centre will engage with Bangladesh for the settlement of illegal migrants in Assam.
Is deportation of illegal citizens possible?
There is little hope of deportation. It seems very difficult, as Bangladesh has been facing the same crisis with Myanmar over the illegal immigration of Rohingya Muslims. But after mediation by UNO, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to settle the issue and talks are yet underway. In India’s perspective, the issue is very complex because different political parties have a different line on these people.
Meanwhile, if you review India’s stand on illegal or legal refugee, you will see New Delhi has already favored Tibetans, Nepalese and Pakistani as well. During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, as many as 80,000 Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama came to India. Now, the number is increased to around 100,000. Most of them live in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala.
Recently in 2017, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh revealed that as many as 5,477 foreigners, including 2,157 Pakistanis and 918 Afghans, got Indian citizenship in last 6 years. Moreover, as India and Nepal signed a treaty for the open border in 1950, Nepalese in outnumbers live in India for their bread and butter.
India has always been generous toward foreigners living in the nation but the country itself standing at population exploration resulting the country is suffering from out of resources. Thus, India is obliged to contrast the door for outsiders in the nation.