Homeland Security

Demographic invasion of India from the North East
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Issue Vol 22.2 Apr-Jun2007 | Date : 04 May , 2014

Relevance of above data gives further credence to the decadal percentage growth of population of All India, Assam and Bangladesh as under: –

You can see from above that the decadal percentage of growth of population in Assam is more than the growth in Bangladesh, except for the period 1971-1981 due to anti-foreigners agitation in the state when these people fled the state and 1991 -2001 obviously  due to illegal migration.

The community-wise growth rate given as under will give you a better picture of communal imbalance being created in Assam by the immigration of Bangladeshis :-

As per the 1991 census, four districts of Assam namely Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta and Hailakandi became Muslim majority districts. Two more districts; Nagaon and Karimganj have attained Muslim majority in 1998. These statistics indicate that illegal migrants coming into India after 1971 have been exclusively Muslims. These changes have significantly altered the electoral profile of Assam which is unethically exploited by political parties for their partisan gains compromising the stability of the region.

Demographic Inversion in Tripura

In other states there has been demographic invasion leading to demographic imbalance, whereas Tripura had to witness demographic inversion. The tribal population of Tripura, which was 93 percent in 1947 has been reduced to a minority of 23 percent of its 31.9 million population today. The changing demographic balance, economic pressures and awareness resulted in tribal resentment, which grew with the unabated influx of migrants. It is difficult to assess the quantum of immigration since no such data is available; however, a comparison between population growth and the decadal growth birth rate indicates that maximum influx has taken place into Tripura after 1950 which will be evident from the data given as under:

From 1951, the others’ population is growing in leaps and bounds defying the natural growth rate. At present a Mobile Task Force (MTF) is responsible to identify and deport the illegal immigrants from Tripura. From 1974 till mid 2006 the Task Force has deported approximately 1,78,000 illegal immigrants to Bangladesh. It is just a drop in the ocean.Now let us have a look at distribution of population by religion in the state of Tripura:-

This table highlights following issues: –

  • Hindus. The population has been rising by approx 30% every decade.
  • Muslims. The population has been rising steadily at a rate of 40%.
  • Buddhists. Their population has increased by  an average rate of 90% each decade.  This group mainly comprises Chakmas and Mogs who have come to Tripura from Chittagong Hill Tracts in search of greener pastures and economic opportunities.
  • Christians.  Their growth can be attributed to the adoption of Christianity by the Tribals.

Demographic Shift in North Bengal

The illegal Bangladeshi Muslim migrants have settled almost homogeneously all along the porous Indo – Bangladesh border. The similarity in language and customs has perfectly aided the silent gradual mingling of these foreigners. However, some areas have been more favoured than others. A few of these areas lie in the Siliguri corridor and including districts of Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur.

The massive influx of 22 million illegal migrants from Bangladesh is a national problem with economic, administrative and political implications.

Demography of Dhubri district of Assam, which is beset with ULFA, BODO and Islamic Militancy, comprised 70 percent Muslims, as per 2001 figures. There has been a continuous unchecked import of illegal Muslim Bangladeshi migrants into the district after 1991 and the present population of Muslims is over 80 percent.

Swing in Population Pattern

A comparison of figures of population by religion in the Jalpaiguri district  gives a fair idea in proliferation of Muslim population:-

It can be seen that the Hindu population within the span of a decade has gone down from 87.50% in 1981 to 84.81% in 1991 to 82.30 registering a decrease of approx 2% whereas the Muslim population has increased from 8.75% to 10.04% to 12.39 registering a steady increase.

As per home ministry and IB estimates approx 54 lakhs Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants are settled in West Bengal. Apart from Bangladeshi Muslims a large number of Bangladeshi Hindus have also crossed over into West Bengal.

During 1971 War, approximately one crore Bangladeshi nationals entered India as refugees. After liberation of Bangladesh, they are believed to have returned to Bangladesh. However, approx 30 lakh, filtered back into India finding that someone else has occupied their land, houses and belongings.

Urgent Need to Contain the Demographic Invasion

This silent invasion of the NE states has been taking place for several decades and the Govt has failed to stem this demographic onslaught. What started as a purely natural and economic movement has now acquired communal, political and international dimensions with serious security overtones. Although Bangladeshi migrants have come into several states of India; their number is alarming in the states of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. Also they are slowly but surely creeping into Mizoram as cheap labour force. It is high time Mizoram learns a lesson from other sister states.  If not effectively checked, they may swamp the sons of the soil and this may also help the fissiparous forces in facilitating severing the NE landmass from the rest of India. This will lead to disastrous strategic and economic results. Politicians for their own vested interests are under playing this issue of grave importance to national security. Lt Gen (Retd) SK Sinha, PVSM , erstwhile Governor of Assam in his report to the Central Govt suggested some steps, which can be taken in this regard, these are: –

  • Awareness should be promoted about illegal migration. It is not only a threat to the identity of the people of NE but a grave threat to our national security.
  • Border fencing should be completed on a war footing. Observation towers and lights should be provided on the same scale as in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir i.e., Northern and Western Border.
  • BSF battalions deployed should be given responsibility to hold frontages which they can effectively dominate. The time tested modus operandi being followed in Punjab, BSF battalions should hold a frontage of 25 to 30 kilometres in plains and on eastern borders of Bangladesh it may be 10 to 15 kilometres only. Thus need for additional BSF battalions.
  • Diversion of BSF battalions from the border for other task, when the battle against infiltrators is on, must be avoided.
  • All country boats, plying in the river near the border should be registered and their registration numbers marked on them.
  • Provisioning of multi-purpose photo identity cards should be speeded up to all our nationals. Districts bordering Bangladesh should be accorded higher priority.
  • The National Register of Citizens should be updated and computerised. A separate register of Stateless citizens should also be maintained.
  • As far as possible, we should assist in the process of economic development in Bangladesh. Have joint ventures to increase the stakes of each country.
  • Hindu illegal migrants who have infiltrated after 24 March, 1971 should not be given refugee status. They should be treated as illegal migrants.
  • Survey teams working under Magistrates, be nominated to identify the illegal migrants within a fixed time- frame.
  • IMDT Act. The Illegal Migrants Detection Tribunal (IMDT) Act of 1983 was struck down by the Supreme  Court in July 2005 following a public interest litigation by Sarmanand Sonawal, AGP MP from  Dibrugarh. The  IMDT Act of 1983 was applicable only to Assam. A foreigner in Assam is to be dealt with under this act, while in rest of the country they are dealt with under Foreigners Act – 1946. Since 1983, till 2006 the Assam Govt had been able to identify approximately 12000 illegal migrants and of these it has been able to deport only 1700. No country in the world had two sets of laws like this. Obviously, this  discrimination against the state of Assam was to appease the minorities.  The govt sought to bypass the Supreme Court judgement by bringing amendments to Foreigners Act (1946) by Foreigners (Tribunals) Amendment Order. For political reasons this too was struck down by the apex court in 2006. The drawbacks of the IMDT act are:-
  • Onus of proof to establish citizenship lies with the state of Assam under IMDT Act, while it lies with the individual in case of other states.
  • Police does not have powers to detain, arrest or search a suspect thus making it convenient for the suspected migrant to melt away. They can abscond during the screening period or 30 days period allowed for appeal before the Appellant Tribunal.
  • Unlike other criminal cases, witnesses appearing before the tribunal are not paid any travel expenses. So witnesses refuse to oblige the Govt.
  • The complainants are required to pay a monetary fee to complain against a suspected illegal migrant.
  • Roughly Rs 750 crores have been spent on implementations with hardly any worthwhile results.

Security:  Implications and Concerns

The massive influx of 22 million illegal migrants from Bangladesh is a national problem with economic, administrative and political implications.

Three trends emerge from this movement of migrants:-

  • The fear of the indigenous people of being swamped by immigrants threatening their ethnic identity.
  • The desire of foreign elements to somehow acquire Assam.
  • Efforts of some politicians to take advantage of the situation for their own purpose/shortsighted gains.

The illegal migration of Bangladeshi Muslims has acquired a national security dimension, this is being compounded by growing international Islamic fundamentalism and the desperate efforts of forces hostile to India to destabilise the country. It is not far-fetched to visualise a Kashmir like situation in another 5 years, wherein Bangladesh fully supported by Pakistan may fight a proxy war and cause national security problems. There is also a threat to the land link of the North East with the rest of India i.e. the Gateway to the North East i.e., “Siliguri Corridor”.  Assam’s turnover of 4900 crores a year in tea, 7800 crores in oil and other economic assets of the North East can be endangered. Any breach of this link will have disastrous consequences for the entire nation.

Emerging trends in the region indicate that Muslim Fundamentalist Organisations (MFOs) are joining hands with the militants and disgruntled elements of the society to raise anti-India tirade or separatist movements.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Brig Amrit Kapur

former  Commandant of Counter- Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte, Mizoram.

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13 thoughts on “Demographic invasion of India from the North East

  1. Demographic invasion will ruin India in the not to distant future. Our so called secular political parties don’t mind destroying the country so long as they can be seated in the driving seat. In another decade or so, this nation and its states will have Bangaladeshi Chief Ministers, Prime Ministers and Presidents, and the Hindus who by then will be a minority in their own country will look helpless. God Help we the ordinary mortals of this great country.

  2. How to destroy your own nation.
    1.Let illegal enter in your nation and never send back.

  3. After decades of propaganda and disinformation blaming illegal Bangladesh immigrants of swamping Assam and other North East provinces has led to frequent acts of violence against the Muslim community. In reality East Pakistan/Bangladeshi immigrants entered India en-masse on only two occasions – in 1947 and 1971. These immigrants were in the vast majority Hindu and were accepted wholeheartedly by India and given citizenship rights. After 1971 there were a trickle of Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh who were only grudgingly given certain very limited rights but have nevertheless been the target of rabble rousing politicians who demand their deportation even though many are now third or fourth generation immigrants. In other words, whether under Congress or BJP the Indian government has practiced a form of communal discrimination. To enflame passionsand emotions politicians cynically conflate the mass immigrations of 1947, 1971 and after making it appear that Muslim immigrants numbers in the tens of millions breeding fear in the local populations in Assam and the Seven Sisters. Essentially in the name of secularism India promotes communalism and this issue of illegal immigration is often used as a foreign policy tool to put Bangladesh on the defensive. This necessarily causes anger in Bangladesh with the public feeling that India is targeting its own Muslim population while hypocritically blaming political parties in the neighboring country for victimizing Hindus. In fact this is another propaganda ruse used by India as more often than not the party doing the most oppressing of minorities in Bangladesh is the Awami League which is an Indian favorite so the blame falls on the opposition BNP and JeI creating a false fear of Islamist fanaticism and thus creating a vicious circle of hatred towards Muslims in India and demands for their expulsion. Read more on these issues in The India Doctrine –


    • What has been written by you is part of propaganda. Bangladeshis illegally enter India and taking advantage of the corrupt system, manage to obtain ration cards and other documents to establish ‘Indian’ identity and then spread into the hinterland. Bangladeshi pockets thrive in big metros and this fact is known to the local intelligence and central agencies. However, a sizable number make for an attractive vote bank for certain politicians. This leads to the drastic alteration of demography in an area.

  4. What the Brig has brought out is an absolute fact. These aspects have been projected to the Government time and again by the Army and also by various Intelligence agencies. But all reports have fallen on deaf ears as anything to do with Muslims becomes and issue of the minority community (sic). If Bangladeshis are rounded up in Assam the rest of the Muslim’s take up their case in the country. Vote bank politics defeats any thing that’s relevant for the nation. The Bangladeshi becomes a vote bank for the Congress. The Congress will cut the throat of its own mother for the sake of votes. Demographic changes have taken place in certain southern districts of Assam. The Government never brings these figure to light. The People of the seven sisters are at a loss. But I blame them too. They are politically, ethnically, and demographically a divided lot. They must stand on a common platform together and fight for their rights. Stop fighting individually for independence from India. That’s impossible for them to achieve. Every tribe cant become an independent nation. But If they are politically on the same platform they have a lot to gain.

  5. I feel, that for the Indian Army to be relevant in Mizoram, Manipur and the other states that comprise the Seven Sisters, the govt. must be local, primarily. The people must decide what will make them prosperous. The environment will get degraded otherwise. The Seven Sisters are what is seen to be the Green Lungs of India, along with Kashmir. I don’t advocate the army on the border of the states, either.

  6. Dear Author,
    Thanks for putting the facts and figures in your finding, All are at pain except the great politicians, when the fine day will come for them to wake up, or they are only concerned about their vote bank… let the country go to HELL… you said 23 out of 25 MP and 117 out of 127 assembly seats are decided by the migrants… then where are we .. at their discretion..

  7. The greed of a few politicinas have destroyed the country. They allowed to kill indiginous people only for their political benefits. One day thesr bangladeshi will kill everyone of them including these politicinas engaging in bangladeshi pampering.

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