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Daring to tell the truth

Daring to tell the truth

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 13, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/149583/Daring-to-tell-the-truth.html

Chidambaram has it right on Bangladeshis

There is sweet irony in the fact that Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has publicly acknowledged the danger to India's internal security posed by unrestrained illegal immigration from Bangladesh. Not only is his comment that Bangladeshis have "no business" to be in India without valid documents a welcome departure from the conspiracy of silence that has been maintained till now by the Congress and its 'secular' allies for whom every illegal immigrant from Bangladesh is an additional voter and hence worthy of political patronage, his promise of immediate action against those who sneak in across the eastern border suggests a new thinking in North Block ever since the departure of Mr Shivraj Patil for whom homeland security was not worthy of ministerial attention. In sharp contrast, Mr Chidambaram has not shied away from acknowledging the dangers of illegal immigration from Bangladesh; to the contrary, he has been blunt and forthright in asserting that "unexpected demographic changes (in Assam and West Bengal) are causing a lot of angst" among the native population. While the angst - or did he mean anger? - is largely on account of the economic impact of illegal immigration, there is also brewing social discord with the demographic balance being rudely upset and majority communities in villages, towns and districts finding themselves reduced to a minority. At another level, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh often indulge in organised crime ranging from cattle-running to human-smuggling, and their settlements are a readymade catchment area for both foreign and homegrown jihadi groups to set up sleeper cells, stash arms and explosives, and execute terror plots. Their role in serial bombings across the country has been established and, frankly, there is little or no sympathy for those whom the Congress, the Marxists and others of the 'secular' tribe describe as 'economic refugees'.

It is such obfuscation of facts and perverse justification of illegal immigration that has changed the social and political profiles of vast stretches of Assam and West Bengal, apart from constituencies in the Hindi belt, providing an advantage to politicians who are willing to compromise national security for the sake of votes. Worse, Bangladesh has become the transit point for ISI-trained jihadis and subversives from Pakistan to enter India, acquire citizenship papers and remain undetected. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the Congress has been a complicit partner in this nefarious enterprise: How else would a Pakistani who entered Assam via Bangladesh have contested the State Assembly election? This shocking fact would have remained unknown had the Guwahati High Court not exposed the wilful manner in which those in power in Assam - as also in West Bengal - have encouraged illegal immigration to further their narrow political interests at the expense of national interest. Between now and the coming general election, Mr Chidambaram does not have the time to take effective measures to tackle a long-festering problem. But hopefully this marks a break with the past: He deserves to be commended for not toeing the conventional Left-liberal 'secular' line. However, a caveat would be in order: There are Muslim Bangladeshis and there are Hindus and Buddhists who are mercilessly persecuted by Islamists in Bangladesh. India is morally obliged to open its doors to those fleeing rapacious mobs of Bangladeshi Jamaatis. We cannot, must not, repeat the folly of the disastrous Nehru-Liaquat pact.


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