A worrying surge in Indians intruding into Bangladesh

Published: 00:00, Nov 23,2019 | Updated: 00:26, Nov 23,2019


THE intrusion of Indians through the Jashore and the Jheniadah frontiers into Bangladesh having been higher than the normal over the past few days, as the Bangladesh’s border guards and people who live in the areas say, comes with concern. Border guards officials say, as New Age reported on Friday, that 54 Indians crossed the Jashore border into Bangladesh only on Wednesday. The Maheshpur uapzila administration in Jhenaidah also says that more than 200 Indians crossed into Bangladesh through the upazila frontiers in the past five days, which has forced the administration to hold a law and order meeting. The meeting, which viewed the flow as much higher than normal, has discussed various measures to check the illegal entry of Indians into Bangladesh. Border guards say, and local people echo, that hundreds of Indians, especially Muslims, have gathered along the frontiers inside India as the conversation of a national register of citizens in West Bengal, the way India conducted it in Assam, is said to have panicked them. The Assam national register of citizens excluded about two million people, mostly Hindus and Muslims of Bengal origin, leaving them to face statelessness in the final list published on August 31; the draft published on July 30, 2018 excluded more than four million people.

The concern about the intrusion of Indians into Bangladesh could be graver when the actual exclusion would happen, with the West Bengal chief minister, at least apparently, vowing to resist such a move but India’s home minister being hell bent on making this happen. As soon as India has started the process of national register of citizens in Assam, it started saying that it was India’s ‘internal affair’ but Indian politicians, directly or indirectly, claimed such ‘stateless’ people in Assam to be ‘illegal Bangladeshis’. Dhaka, which earlier adopted a wait-and-see policy, has then reposed its trust in what New Delhi has said. The event of such national register of citizens in West Bengal, which has still been in conversation, could worsen the situation given the geopolitical reality of the subcontinent. Bangladesh should, therefore, take up the issue seriously and take it up with India boldly while it shores up issues to face any untoward situation that might ensue from such intrusion. Bangladesh border guards, however, deserve appreciation for not treating the Indian intruders the foul way Indian border guards have so far treated Bangladeshis, with violent means, when they have crossed the border into India by mistake or on purpose and when Indian guards are reported to have intruded into Bangladesh.

While the local administration along the frontiers is reported to be devising ways and means to stave off the intrusion of Indians into Bangladesh, Dhaka must work out comprehensive plans to stop such intrusion by Indians. With a probable Assam national register citizens fallout having already raised concern, the Bangladesh foreign office must weigh the situation at hand with due importance and take up the issue with New Delhi, shaking off any capitualistic attitude that successive governments of Bangladesh are said to have largely shown, boldly enough to head off any trouble.

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