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The Islamization of Eastern India - Assam, West Bengal et al.

nabadip - Tue, 26 Apr 2005 10:35:07 +0530
Deluge from Bangladesh

- By Balbir K. Punj

(source: Asian Age April 26, 2005)

Diagnosis is half the cure, but late diagnosis is a forecast of fatality. We donít know which part applies to the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration. First, a classified report of Assam governor Ajai Singh to the union home ministry got leaked to the media (Assam govt. in crisis over governorís report, The Tribune, Chandigarh, April 14, 2005). According to it, 6,000 Bangladeshis are daily infiltrating into Assam across the worldís most porous border. They are not only threatening the demographic character of Assam, but could facilitate bases for the ISI network and terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda.

Secondly, the infiltration issue also dominated the chief ministerís conference on April 15 in New Delhi. There was a chorus of complaints from the chief ministers of not only the eastern states of West Bengal, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, but also a western state like Maharashtra. These states are feeling demographically threatened by the avalanche of infiltration from Bangladesh. Remarkably, none of these states is ruled by the BJP, which has been stigmatised by the "secularists" for highlighting this smouldering problem.

Any mention of Bangladeshi infiltration, like the higher reproductive rate of Indian Muslims, was considered hateful saffron propaganda. The home ministry recently had to do an incredible statistical makeover in Census 2001 to neutralise on paper a menace which is compounding on the ground. The UPA government, which reinforced the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, last year in Assam, will vainly try to sweep the infiltratorsí issue below the carpet. But alas, if only ignorance were bliss.

The chief ministers also expressed concern over the Pakistani ISIís links with the infiltrators. This accompanying conspiratorial agenda can hardly be overlooked. Pakistani ISI, encouraged by the findings of Census 2001, has launched Operation "PIN Code," to bring the Northeast under Islamic umbrella through demographic invasion. Our neighbour Bangladesh, a country solidly under the thumb of the ISI, is heading towards Talibanisation. With a population bursting at the seams, it is the official policy of Bangladesh to offload it in parts on Indian soil. History is on their side.

From 1900 onwards, a wave of immigration began from the densely populated East Bengal (now Bangladesh), especially Mymensingh district (the most populous district of undivided India), into the Brahmaputra valley of Assam. The Muslim population of Assam province had increased by 109% between 1881 and 1931. As a result of such migrations, Sylhet, the second largest district of the province, both in area and population, became predominantly Muslim and was awarded to East Pakistan when the country was partitioned on communal lines. The Muslim League had claimed the whole of Assam for Pakistan. And Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, who later became the President of India, had the plan for "Bang-e-Islam" i.e. the incorporation of Assam and West Bengal into East Pakistan through Muslim immigration. The "credit" for turning Barpeta district of Assam to a Muslim majority district through infiltration goes to him.

While they (read Islamic fundamentalists) have forgotten nothing, we have learnt nothing. That is why the Assamese establishment (Congress government) invited migrants from East Pakistan as rice cultivators. The faster natural growth of migrants put five districts of Assam in a state of jeopardy. The Assam agitation which emerged after the second reorganisation of Assam (1972), when it realised the full magnitude of the danger it was quite late in the day and it lost its direction. The IMDT was slapped in 1983 by an iniquitous Indira Gandhi government after the Congress swept the unpopular elections in Assam. The IMDT Act practically sealed Assamís fate.

In 1999, the then Assam governor, Lt. Gen. (Retd) S.K. Sinha, now governor of J&K, had submitted a 42-page report on Assamís demographic situation to President K.R. Narayanan. Lt. Gen. Sinha feared that the demographic aggression in Assamís lower districts like Dhubri and Goalpara can prompt their merger with Bangladesh. In fact, in lower Assam, one could walk miles thinking it is Bangladesh, without meeting a single Indian. But Tarun Gogoi, the then Assam Congress chief demanded his recall because he had cast an "aspersion" on the loyalty and the commitment of the Muslims to the country.

But the same Tarun Gogoi, now chief minister of Assam, cowered like an invertebrate when Jamiat Maulana Asad Madani, the national president of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, threatened him point blank to "overthrow" his government unless JUHís demands like job reservation for Muslims and seats in the Lok Sabha and the Assembly were not met within six months.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Kolkata (April 4, 2005), "The Jamiatís 18-point charter of demands includes reservation of jobs and seats for the minorities, based on the population pattern, in government departments and educational institutionsÖ On illegal migration from Bangladesh to Assam, the organisation admitted it was a serious problem and suggested that a register of citizens be prepared with March 25, 1971, as the base year. It contended that there was nothing wrong with the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act and it ought to be extended to other parts of the country." The design of the JUH is evidently not only on Assam but on the whole of India. JUH has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court for the retention and extension of IMDT.

But while Madani had at least paid some lip service against infiltration, Tarun Gogoi was so scared that he was not one of those seven chief ministers who raised the issue at the conference though his state suffers the most from it. But home truths are quite different and jazzy. The very same day the governorís report got leaked to the media (albeit at a very few places) Tarun Gogoiís own government made a startling submission.

The Telegraph (April 14, 2005) reports: "The Assam government today said in an affidavit to the Supreme Court that the ISI was active in the state and illegal Bangladeshi migrants were pouring in through West Bengal and Tripura. Gogoi and his Cabinet colleagues have assured the Assembly on several occasions that the ISI has no presence in the state. The affidavit, however, states just the opposite. ĎTaking advantage of the porous nature of the border between India and Bangladesh, there has been large-scale illegal migration from Bangladesh, and taking advantage of this situation, there has been an increase in the activities of various anti-national groups, including ISI, in Assam. The state government is keeping a close watch on the situation and taking appropriate action to ensure the safety, security and integrity of the nationí."

The affidavit was in response to a petition challenging the validity of the IMDT, which is now before a three-judge bench of Justice R.C. Lahoti, Justice G.P. Mathur and Justice P.K. Balasubramanyam.

The CPI(M) seems more concerned about West Bank in Palestine than West Bengal here. It has demanded the breaking off of military ties with Israel for its policy on occupied territories. Infiltration severely affects the two states ruled by the Marxists, West Bengal and Tripura. But no resolution was passed at its 18th Party Congress in Chandigarh on this issue unlike the one condemning Israel over its Palestine policy. But it has also not gone the whole hog against Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee unlike in 2002 (when he expressed concern over the proliferation of madrasas). So do they realise the magnitude of the problem? Even if the answer is in the affirmative, the situation has now gone beyond their control. But equally important is the voice of concern from Maharashtra. It proves that the problem of infiltration is not just Assam, West Bengal or Northeastís problem but entire Indiaís. It hurts Delhi badly. But, sadly, we missed any reaction from the Delhi chief minister, who is now unfortunately caught up in a political eddy inside the Congress.

Balbir K. Punj, a Rajya Sabha MP and convener of the BJPís Think Tank, can be contacted at
Jagat - Tue, 26 Apr 2005 17:55:35 +0530
The situation is roughly comparable to what happened in Kosovo.
nabadip - Sun, 01 May 2005 12:02:48 +0530
Muslim Growth Rate
(from Asian Age)

New Delhi, April 30, 2005: The National Commission for Minorities on Saturday came out with an in-depth analysis of the religion-based data in the Census 2001 report, saying though the growth rate of the Muslim community is more than other communities as per the latest census, it has actually "declined" over the years.

An expert committee of demographers set up by the NCM has found that the growth rate of the Muslim community from 1991 to 2001 across India was 29.5 per cent as against 21.5 per cent for all communities. "However, this was lower than the growth rate during 1981-91 (32.9 per cent), 1971-81 (30.7 per cent) and 1961-71 (30.8 per cent)," the head of the committee, Mr Ashish Bose of the Society for Applied Research in Humanities, told reporters here.

After analysing the religion-based data in the Census 2001 report, Mr Bose said the above-average growth rate of the Muslim community was primarily due to higher-than-average fertility and lower mortality. "The growth rate of the Muslim population may still be high, but it is nothing to be alarmed about and will stabilise over the years as this is a transitional phase," he said.

While the total fertility rate (the number of children per woman) was 3.6 among Muslims, it was 2.8 for Hindus, 2.4 for Christians and 2.3 for Sikhs. While the highest growth rate for Muslims was found in Assam at 31 per cent, it was the lowest in Kerala at 15.8 per cent.

The committee, which presented its findings to Muslim intellectuals at a special session on Saturday, observed that the reduction in the growth rate of Muslims during 1991-2001 was largely on account of their "adoption of the small family norm".

"We have found that 37 per cent of Muslims practice family planning and only nine per cent of women are opposed to it. But this is mainly because they do not favour methods like sterilisation, and we believe that they will come around if culture-sensitive family control methods are introduced, as has happened in Iran," Mr Bose said, adding, "Muslims also have a higher sex ratio of 936 girls per 1,000 boys as against the national average of 933."
nabadip - Thu, 02 Jun 2005 14:16:40 +0530
West Bengal is going J&K way

Prafull Goradia
The Daily Pioneer, Delhi

What Pakistan thinks for Kashmir today, Bangladesh will think for West Bengal tomorrow. Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah and his successors wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan because there were more Muslims in the Valley. Later, the argument shifted to self-determination of Kashmiris. Sooner or later, Dhaka, too, may support similar movement for autonomy in the North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and West Dinajpur districts.

All the 54 Islamic countries would support such a demand, as they did for Kashmir. The Pandits were driven out of the Valley. The Hindus of these districts in West Bengal are not far from a similar hijrat. Only two months ago Ram Mohan Chaki told me this when I visited his village Debagram in Nadia.

The ripples of such apprehension have reached the suburbs of Kolkata. Dr Manik Dattagupta, having made it good in the US, returned home in 2003 with the intention of spending the rest of his years in leisure amidst relatives and friends. He wanted a house of his own in Salt Lake, a favourite of Bengali non-residents.

He called on Omeo Sen, his old friend at Bangbasi College, to help him get a suitable plot of land. Mr Sen's reaction was: "Why do you want to become a refugee all over again? Why do you want to be homeless for a second time in your life? Go and build your house at Varanasi or Allahabad or elsewhere." Sen added, "Remember, our parents and others had to run for their lives from Hilpur in Faridpur in 1951. By 2011, you will have to run for your dear life from Kolkata, for Bangladeshi Muslims are multiplying after flooding in from the East. There are no jobs and not enough land to work on."

There are too many people and they need living space or lebensraum, as a Dhaka ideologue put it. The districts touching the Bangladesh border already have more Muslims than Hindus, and Kolkata is only 45 km from the Jessore border. It costs a maximum of Rs 1,000 to cross the border and some Rs 2,500 to obtain a ration card. Thereafter, political parties help the infiltrator in getting his name entered in the electoral rolls. Already, one out of four voters in West Bengal is a Muslim, and he is one of the three pillars of the Left Front Government.

Last weekend, a young Somabroto, whose father Gynu Sanyal used to attend the RSS shakha regularly, dropped in to see me. We happened to discuss the greenhouse effect on Bangladesh. He said that half the country will be under water in 50 years. Yet he betrayed no particular anxiety. Apparently, in his lexicon, Muslims are those who speak Urdu. Bengalis are all Bengalis.

To Somabroto, evidently, sonar culture, led by the melody that is the Bengali language, is far above religion. He is first, second and third a Bengali and then a Hindu - to the extent that he had forgiven the oppression of his family on the way from Mymensingh to Calcutta. In one instance his parents had to throw away his six-month-old sister into a pond because crying her might have attracted rioters. Whether Muslims reciprocated this magnanimous Hindu sentiment or not, did not seem to concern Somabroto.

Aloke Gurtu, who was also present, surprised Somabroto by saying that the All India Muslim League was established in no other place than Dhaka in 1906. Gurtu went on to complain how Kashmir too had been betrayed. Step by step, family by family, person by person conversions had proved to be massive. The influential Pandits did not lift a finger, not even while the Dogras ruled for the best part of two centuries, complained Gurtu.

Years ago, while travelling from Calcutta to Delhi, a co-passenger called Girish Sapru frankly told me that he was far more comfortable in high class Muslim company than with the average Hindu. He then went on to explain that one had to understand the Kashmiris in order to appreciate their preference.

History, however, proves that Kashmiris have been betrayed. Men from the Valley have moved to Ladakh in such numbers that the original Ladakhis are on the verge of being outnumbered. Several areas of Jammu - Doda, Rajouri and Poonch - are also going the same way. Meanwhile, thanks to the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, Pakistanis have begun claiming their properties in Srinagar.

Regardless of who is to be blamed, the fact is the Pandits have been wiped out of Kashmir. The same fate cannot overtake the Bengalis for the simple reason that their number is much greater and they are well settled in other parts of India. The question is of the fate of West Bengal. How soon or how late would the majority in the eastern districts demand autonomy a la Kashmir?

If and when that happens, the West Bengali could well start to imagine the re-enactment of East Bengal after Partition. In what detail, I do not know, but certainly Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee had visualised the broad picture. Remember, he had resigned from the Cabinet when Nehru had surrendered the rights of the East Bengal refugees to the false promises of the Pakistani prime minister and signed the Nehru-Liaquat Pact.

BC Roy had obeyed Nehru and tried hard to discourage the hapless refugees. Ironically, the same Mookerjee laid down his life for the sake of Kashmiris in J&K, in the prime of his life. Evidently, the Kashmiri Pandits ignored his sacrifice, and what was unfortunate was that the Bengalis too did not care to insist on an exchange of population a la Punjab.

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