The numbers of persons arrested by the Border Security Force (BSF) for trying to enter India illegally through the Bangladesh border, as well as the numbers pushed back along the same border, show a declining trend over a period of five years. Additionally, figures tabled in Parliament by the Home Ministry show, the number of those listed as “deported” has been higher than the number of those arrested in of these each of these years.
The data add up to 9,145 arrested between 2015 and 2019, and 21,348 deported during the same period. The arrests declined from 3,426 in 2015 to 1,351 in 2019, while the number of those deported declined from 5,930 to 2,175 during the same period.
For those arrested and deported, the ministry response in Parliament used the term “illegal infiltrators”. For those living in the country, it used the term “illegal migrants”. It defined illegal migrants as individuals who enter the country without valid travel documents in a clandestine and surreptitious manner. “Therefore, it is not possible to have an accurate estimate of such illegal migrants living in the country,” the ministry said.
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In response to another question, the Home Ministry said India has granted citizenship to 15,012 individuals from Bangladesh between 2015 and 2019. Of them, 14,864 were living in 23 enclaves of Bangladesh included in Indian territory under the Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement, 2015, leading to their being granted citizenship.
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Not counting the enclave residents, 148 individuals from Bangladesh were granted Indian citizenship during 2015-19, as compared to 2,668 from Pakistan and 665 from Afghanistan. The recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act relaxes eligibility rules for Indian citizenship for certain categories of migrants from these three countries.
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