New Delhi: In what could trigger a political controversy in the days ahead, the Government on Wednesday disclosed in Parliament that there were as many as two crore illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the country at present.
In reply to a written question in Rajya Sabha, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said, “as per available inputs, there are around 20 million illegal Bangladeshi migrants staying in India.’’
The minister said there were reports that some Bangladeshi nationals had entered the country without valid travel documents and since such entry is clandestine and surreptitious it was not possible to maintain proper data.
Mr Rijiju also added that deportation of foreign national staying illegally was a continuous process. In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that illegal Bangladeshi migrants would be deported.
“They have been given the red carpet welcome by politicians just for votes. You can write it down. After May 16, these Bangladeshis better be prepared with their bags packed,” Modi had said at an election rally in Serampore in West Bengal, which shares a porous border with Bangladesh.
Illegal immigration from Bangladesh has been a major issue for the states in the North-East and West Bengal. The BJP, too, had assured during Assam assembly pollsthat it will address the issue illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
In fact, the Home Ministry has already initiated a major plan to seal the entire Indo-Bangla border by next year end. During the UPA Government the then state home minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had informed the Parliament in July, 2004, that there were more than 12 million illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the country.
Mr Jaiswal had stated that there are about 5 million illegal migrants in Assam while West Bengal topped the list with 5.7 million. The issue had led to protest by the then Congress Government in Assam and Mr Jaiswal was forced to retract his statement.