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HomeOpinionsJoe Biden and Kamala Harris: Don't muddy waters in the land of Brahmaputra

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris: Don’t muddy waters in the land of Brahmaputra

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harshukla
Retired metallurgist. Worked in aerospace and defence industries. Lives in Minneapolis,MN, USA. Studied in Govt College of Engineering & Technology (now NIT), Raipur and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Hometown: Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India. Writes op-eds and letters to editor in Minneapolis and St Paul dailies. Also writes poems in Hindi.

India, the world’s largest democracy, is situated between two of its own fragments- Pakistan in the west and Bangladesh in the east, both Islamic states. Pakistan’s terrorism against India is explicit but Bangladesh’s insidious way of hurting India goes largely unnoticed.

Bangladeshis have been infiltrating into India ever since the inception of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, in 1947. Unfortunately, an accurate and up-to-date number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India is not available. According to information provided to Indian parliament by the Minister of State for Home Affairs in 2004 the number was 12 million and in 2016, 20 million. That number could be anywhere between 20-25 million by the year end 2020.

This massive Bangladeshi infiltration has dramatically changed the demography of several neighboring Indian states, especially Assam. Several districts of Assam have now Muslim majority population. Crime has risen and wages dropped. The Bangladeshi infiltration has uprooted the natives in the bordering Indian states forcing them to flee, leaving their homes behind. The infiltrators have occupied natives’ homes, farms, and stores. The infiltrators have plundered the fertile land, forest, natural resources like minerals and fisheries. They are also engaged in smuggling, trafficking of Bangladeshi women, and terrorism thanks to increasing influence of ISIS in Bangladesh.

The infiltrators with the sole intent of making selfish economic gain at the cost of Indian citizens are threat to India. The infiltrators are invaders, not refugees, and clearly fail to qualify for Indian citizenship and must be deported back to Bangladesh. India is a densely populated country with a density of 464 persons per square kilometer and can ill-afford absorbing immigrants, legal or illegal, from other countries unlike wealthier USA which has a population density of 36 persons per square kilometer.

Supreme Court of India concluded in a 2015 hearing that the state of Assam was facing “external threats and internal disturbance” because the government was not doing enough to stop the infiltration and deport the infiltrators. A major reason for the ever-worsening problem of illegal immigrants in Assam was the reckless politics of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who changed a national law just for the state of Assam in 1983. The new law, known in short as “IMDT Act 1983”, put the onus on investigating police personnel to prove that a suspect was an illegal immigrant. In the rest of the country the onus was on the suspect to prove that he or she was an Indian citizen. The new law in Assam was a boon to illegal immigrants making it impossible to deport them until it was struck down unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India in 2005.

Although Indira Gandhi’s law in Assam was abolished the incessant flow of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh never stopped because of the porous border and inadequate patrolling force.

Now, when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is earnestly trying to implement Supreme Court’s directives he is being vilified by his detractors. Let the detractors, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, USA’s 2020 Democratic Presidential ticket explain why Modi should ignore his constitutional duty of protecting the citizens of his own country and let the illegal immigrants rampage India unabated. If Biden and Harris are genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of 20-25 million illegal immigrants in India let them resettle those Bangladeshis in the vast and expansive land of USA or just stop shedding crocodile tears.

American President Donald Trump, a Republican, and his predecessor Barrack Obama, a Democrat, were prudent enough to have a cordial relationship with India and its Prime Minister Modi. Conversely, Biden-Harris ticket has drawn a battle line against Modi right from day one of it’s election campaign denouncing India’s policies, one of them being Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a law that deals with the illegal immigrants.

Biden-Harris ticket has decried CAA saying essentially that it is discriminatory to Muslims because it excludes them from Indian citizenship. This crafty portrayal of CAA created a public perception that the Indian Muslims would be stripped off their Indian citizenship. This deceptive portrayal is largely responsible for the anti-India resolutions passed by several cities across USA, damaging India’s reputation Biden-Harris ticket is simply trying to muddy the waters in the land of Brahmaputra to champion an illegal cause of illegal immigrants.

CAA’s critics must understand that Indian Muslims are not at all affected by CAA because it is not applicable to them in any shape or form. CAA is applicable to illegal immigrants and also to refugees in India who were persecuted based on their religion in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. These refugees are followers of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism (Parsis), and Christianity. Indian government will grant them Indian citizenship under CAA provided they entered India on or before December 31, 2014.

Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will not be eligible for Indian citizenship under CAA for the simple reason that they are not persecuted based on their religion in their own Islamic nations. Muslims from these three countries can always apply for Indian citizenship like any one else from any other country. India Today, a weekly magazine, reported on December 18, 2019 that nearly 4000 people from the three countries, hundreds of them Muslims, were granted Indian citizenship in the past six years.

CAA’s critics complain that Indian citizenship cannot be granted based on religion. They say that the CAA must include Muslims as well for the Indian citizenship. In other words what the critics imply is: the persecutors and the persecuted be rewarded equally with Indian citizenship. If this ever happens in future it will be a total travesty of justice.

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harshukla
Retired metallurgist. Worked in aerospace and defence industries. Lives in Minneapolis,MN, USA. Studied in Govt College of Engineering & Technology (now NIT), Raipur and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Hometown: Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India. Writes op-eds and letters to editor in Minneapolis and St Paul dailies. Also writes poems in Hindi.
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