Shillong, India (BBN)-The “dangerous idea” of a “Greater Bangladesh” is being pursued by “driving out and sending in” people from the neighbouring country into the frontier states of the country.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra expressed the view during an interactive session on “Foreigners’ issue of Northeast — a problem that awaits solution”, reports telegraphindia.
“I do not want to mince words that there are groups out there in Bangladesh who want to drive out religious, cultural and ethnic minorities from Bangladesh into India, and at the same time want to encourage migration of the same communities into the Northeast,” Mitra said.
He said the two-pronged strategy was adopted in order to “unofficially colonise” the border areas. “You have a very dangerous idea of a ‘Greater Bangladesh’.
There are groups, which officially demand that there must be a ‘Greater Bangladesh’ because Bangladesh population is growing at a much faster rate,” Mitra, who is also a senior journalist, added.
Quoting figures from Wikileaks, he said the Bangladeshi population in India is 3.26 lakh. The “unofficial” figure is around four crore, he added.
“Look at the inefficiency of our system. We do not even know how many (Bangladeshis) are there. But once we detect them, some action has to be taken,” Mitra said while adding that one should look beyond the idea of “throwing out” foreigners.
Stating that the BJP’s view on “foreigners” was to “detect, delete and deport”, Mitra provided a three-point formula —“prevent, prohibit and protect” to contain infiltration.
“We have to prevent more foreigners from intruding. There is no more place to accommodate. We also have to prohibit those who come for jobs from acquiring citizenship, Aadhaar cards, Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPICs). Then only we can protect. They cannot have the same rights as our genuine nationals of a sovereign state,” he said.
“The message goes out that India is not a dharamshala and it cannot be. It is only when you prevent and prohibit then you can protect the ethnicity, value, heritage, culture of our land. When the number (illegal migrants) becomes unmanageable, protection of the nationalism will become next to impossible,” he added.
But at the same time, he said “solutions” to the foreigners’ problem should come from here (Northeast) only, and not from “outside”.
Stating that it was an irony of the country’s democracy that genuine Indians are being deleted from the voter list, he said political parties have a “vested interest” in not detecting and deleting those who are not citizens. On his three-point formula, he said: “Let us start with this, and let us see how far we go.”
Participants at the session included legislator Jemino Mawthoh and former legislator Manas Chaudhuri, among others.
Terming the problems in the Northeast “complex”, Mitra at the same time said “solutions” to the foreigners’ problem should come from the Northeast only, as many a time, solutions from “outside” do not work.
Recalling the history of India’s Independence and its Partition into East and West Pakistan, Mitra pointed out that it is a huge error and a mess to partition India on the basis of religion.
BBN/JF-14Sept14-4:50pm (BST)