India has no data of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants

By IANS, New Delhi August 8, 2012

Minister of State for Home M. Ramachandran said Wednesday it was not possible to maintain any data on illegal migrants as there was no record of their entry.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Ramachandran said: “As entry of illegal migrants into the country, without valid documents, is clandestine and surreptitious, it is not possible to have any data of such illegal migrants, including those from Afghanistan and Bangladesh.”

He, however, said that in 2011, a total of 21,274 Bangladeshis and 12,744 Afghans who entered India on valid documents were found to have overstayed in the country.

The minister said instances of violation of Indian law and involvement in illegal activities by foreign nationals have been reported.

He said cases of the illegal migrants obtaining ration cards, voter IDs and driving license through “fraudulent means” was known but no official data was maintained on this issue.

Fence entire Bangladesh border, opposition says

By IANS, New Delhi August 8, 2012

The BJP and some other opposition parties Wednesday demanded immediate steps to complete fencing on India’s border with Bangladesh to check illegal infiltration.

Taking part in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the ethnic violence in Assam, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Balbir Punj said that about 50 km of the Indian border with Bangladesh had been “deliberately kept unfenced”.

Punj said that illegal migration into Assam over the years had created a sense of insecurity among Assamese people.

He said the Assam Accord of 1985 had entailed identification of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, creation of a national citizen register and fencing of the border. He accused the Congress of not taking enough steps to implement these.

Punj said demographic changes had taken place in several districts of Assam due to infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims, who were now registering a much faster growth than Hindus in the state.

He sought immediate steps to complete border fencing with Bangladesh and said that illegal immigrants should be declared “stateless people” and barred from voting and owning property.

Congress member Bhubaneswar Kalita said the house should give a message to “unite” the people of state. He accused the BJP of trying to divert the issue. “You want to give colour to (it).”

The MP said the Congress cannot be faulted for lapses in implementing the Assam Accord and wanted to know how many were identified as foreigners during the Assam Gana Parshad (AGP) rule.

Jharna Das Baidya of CPI-M asked the Assam government to take concrete steps to address pending problems.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Shivanand Tiwari said infiltration was taking place in the state. “Fencing is a must,” he said.

AGP’s Birendra Prasad Baishya said Assam was “burning” and there was a need to “save” the state.

Referring to the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, he said Assam had a different law from other parts of the country to identify foreigners. “The main problem is the Bangladesh border (is) open.”

He said his party was not against Muslims but “against illegal migrants”.

Biswajit Daimary of Bodoland People’s Front said that priority should be given to complete fencing along the Bangladesh border.

Ethnic violence in Assam last month left 73 people dead and displaced tens of thousands.

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