Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Of Bangladeshis' and the northeast of India!

Where or when does one say, "Okay, that's enough, this must stop!"

I am referring to the influx of illegal immigrants from the neighbouring country of Bangladesh. The very exodus of people moving freely across the border into the fertile soils of India, in particular, that of Assam, had led to the famous/infamous (you be the judge of that!) Assam Agitation of the late nineteen hundreds. An accord was signed and one of the clauses of that accord was the Detection, Deletion and Deportation of these illegal immigrants. But sadly I must confess, more than three decades down the line, nothing concrete has materialised in this regard.

The irony I must add was that, a government was formed on the backdrop of this agitation, there was a lot of expectation from those elected to power, as these were the same persons who spearheaded the agitation. But even the span of ten years in power could not yield any tangible results with regards to the influx! Well I wouldn't like to go in details about the successive governments, both in the state as well as the centre, and their efforts to check this cancerous growth, called "Bangladeshi influx". But suffice it to say that, it was more of a blessing in disguise for the politicians. 

Now what does the central leadership have to say, after our country has been 'Modi-fied'? I clearly recall a statement where our Prime Minister had earmarked the 16th of May 2014, when the illegal immigrants had to pack their bags and leave and I thought to myself, well here's a guy who talks tough but can he 'walk the talk'? Anyways, I didn't really believe him. And I was proved correct!

A few weeks back, our foreign minister lands up in Dhaka on a good-will mission to try and improve bilateral relations and it was hoped that she would also discuss the burning issue of influx. But what a let down! The issue was never brought up leave alone discussing it. And to rub salt into the wounds, she goes ahead and announces that those under the age of thirteen and above sixty-five, don't require legal documents to enter our country. Oh! Had I been in such a situation, I would have thoroughly welcomed it! And I guess those in Bangladesh are certainly licking and smacking their lips at this opportunity. Imagine the joy of waltzing into another country on the veracity of one's birth certificate, which by the way, can easily be duplicated and tampered with in our side of the world by greasing the palms of some officials in the health department. And to top it all off, the foreign minister goes and announces a bus service from Guwahati (capital of Assam, in case you didn't know) to Dhaka the capital of Bangladesh!

Well done Madam Foreign Minister, this was the 'icing on the cake' we were so eagerly waiting for! I mean let us all welcome them with open arms in a legal way. This would cut down on the wastage of money, time and manpower in trying to put up defunct border fences, that would never materialise. Look, I have no qualms nor am I in any way against having good neighbourly relations, I fully understand that no one can survive in isolation, but there has to be proper check and balances in place to ensure that the indigenous populace is not harmed in any manner. 

But can this be actually expected from our leaders? I have my doubts. Their whole game is one of one upmanship and as long as this attitude pervades, logical thinking will never surface. 

And what of our student leaders who are still crying sore about the whole affair? Well, I guess they will just have to live to fight another day!

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