A movement has been building up in Nagaland against “illegal Bangladeshi immigrants”, with different groups, including the Naga Students Federation (NSF) and the newly formed NGO Survival Nagaland, pressing the government to take measures to get rid of them.
“If you go though crime reports in Dimapur, you will find that persons arrested in most crimes are Bangladeshis who have entered Nagaland through Assam. They are all over. It is easy because while they carry documents issued in Assam, there is no Inner Line Permit in force in Dimapur,” claimed Jakato Sumi, convenor of Survival Nagaland, which was formed about a year ago. He alleged many such suspected Bangladeshis have committed rapes in recent times.
In fact, Nagas cutting across political affiliations think a day will come when Bangladeshi infiltrators will reduce them to a minority in their state. Former CM and Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio as well as (NSF) president Tongpang Ozukum have voiced similar fears.
Rio had said Bangladeshi infiltrators would change the demography of his state. When he was CM in 2012, the state government had constituted a Special Task Force to identify such people so they could be deported.
Rio had also blamed Assam for the influx of suspected Bangladeshis to the hill state. “Assam has almost become a breeding ground for illegal migrants as they are procuring documents like ration cards there and then coming into the hills,” he had said.
The NSF has been spearheading the campaign to flush out “illegal Bangladeshi immigrants”, widely referred to as IBIs in the state. Incidentally, the NSF is part of the North-East Students’ Organisation (NESO), of which the All Assam Students Union (AASU) is also a constituent.
Last month, the NSF had launched an initiative to create awareness among people about the apparent dangers posed by the migrants. Ozukum said they were not against any community or citizens of India, but their movement was against illegal immigrants who, he claimed, had become a serious threat to their state.
“The government too should have strong political will and come out with a strong legislation to seriously and effectively tackle the IBI menace,” Ozukum said.
Sumi, meanwhile, said, “Some of our people are also responsible. There are instances where our own officials give them permanent residence certificates and other documents just for money. This has to stop. Look at some of the prime market areas and other localities in and around Dimapur town; they are full of these people who possess documents issued in some particular districts of Assam.”
He added, “Bangladeshis will reduce us to a minority if we do not stand united. We are also talking about dignity of labour. If our young people do all kinds of work then the Bangladeshis will have to anyway go.”