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Problem Of Ferocious Types:Infiltrators and Illegal Immigrants, by Bobby Srinivas,6 September 2006 Print E-mail


New Delhi, 6 September 2006

Problem Of Ferocious Types

Infiltrators and Illegal Immigrants

By Bobby Srinivas

Infiltrators and illegal immigrants have become common newspaper headlines these days.  What is the difference in taxonomy?  When we talk of infiltrators, our thoughts go to the marauders who surreptitiously enter India with their sinister motives, particularly in Kashmir and north-east India.  The Mumbai bomb blasts, the Indian Airlines hijacks and other deadly activities are all traced to these infiltrators.  Surely they could not be very legal! 

The violence that plagued the people of the Punjab for well over two decades had the implementation by these infiltrators with extra territorial instigation.  Their sordid deeds in the Punjab were put to an end by stern and ruthless action of the Punjab police ably assisted by the Central authorities.  But that has left a nightmarish memory for the people of the State.  That’s the popular perception of what most of the infiltrators are!  Many of the infiltrators are also immigrants of a kind albeit illegal.

If it is any mitigation, we are not alone in the world with such infiltrators.  Even the powerful United States of America faces the problem of infiltrators.  They are termed as illegal immigrants, steal most of the newspaper columns also. The Wall Street Journal wrote sometime back, “Young Americans are hitting Cancun’s beaches (resort on the east coast of Mexico).  Young Mexicans are hitting American borders!” These young Mexicans are the illegal immigrants that seemingly cause such a problem to the American authorities.  They have strong support in many quarters in America, mainly from employers. 

Most of the illegal immigrants are domestic servants, workers in food manufacturing, furniture factory workers, labourers in agriculture and construction work.  In California alone these immigrants represent around a third of the State’s labour force and 25% of its residents!  There is a strong lobby in America to help these immigrants to find an honorable place as citizens and legally rehabilitated.  The pro-immigrant groups or lobby claim these immigrants are not criminals and the US economy owes much to them. 

According to the National Academy of Sciences, the illegal immigrants contribute more in taxes than they get back in service.  The lobby describes them as undocumented immigrants and resents the offensive term illegal.  Even the American President George Bush is soft on the issue and calls them guest workers.  The President is trying hard to fit them somewhere.  The hardliners against the immigrants would want them to be categorized as felons and treated as such.  They should be thrown out, never mind the impact on American economy!

Thus, there are two types of illegal immigrants – the benign ‘guest workers’ in the United States, who slog it out with poor compensation and no benefits for the taxes they pay!  Indeed, these poor workers certainly pay their indirect taxes and sometimes even direct taxes.  Since they are undocumented, i.e., illegal they are handicapped in demanding their just dues.  They also seem to have popular support from employers and from households using them as domestic help.  This is the American scene.

Then there is the other type, the malignant, dangerous and ferocious ones---the illegal, unwelcome, unwanted guests---the infiltrators that surreptitiously cross into India particularly in the northern and eastern parts of the country.  They play havoc with our civil population and sometimes attack military establishments, particularly in J&K.  They are well trained in various terror training camps across the border and have the blessings both from the western and northern neighbors of our country!  The bomb blasts, bedlam and bloodshed that are frequently reported in the media are just a sample menu of their final intention. 

Besides these fierce infiltrators there are the passive ones mainly from Bangladesh (previously East Pakistan) who are flooding Assam and other eastern States, potentially overwhelming the local population.  The locals have a fear of becoming a minority in their own home.  This has become a core issue of much of the agitations in the North-East, fanned and abetted by our hostile neighbors. 

Mention may also be made of a large chunk of infiltrators who come from Pakistan with valid visas but do not return to their country.   Not all of them come as terrorists.  Many of them may be coming for a reunion with their families who preferred to remain in India at the time of Partition.  And finding living conditions better here, with no disabilities of linguistic or religious affiliation as back home in Pakistan, they get lost in the Indian multitude!  Time and again, local leaders in Mumbai claim that a large number of infiltrators from Bangladesh are comfortably ensconced in the city and in other parts of Maharashtra. 

Unfortunately and unpatriotically these infiltrators are useful to our unscrupulous politicians who consider them as free gift of vote banks, never mind if they pose a danger to the security of the nation.  Newspapers and citizens have repeatedly focused on this growing menace.  But political parties who benefit from their voting advantage have soft pedaled the issue.  Unfortunately also whenever any government wants to act tough with the infiltrators, human ‘rights’ activists and political parties are up in arms giving these moles further lease of life. 

One should also remember that prior to the independence of Bangladesh about ten million refugees from East Pakistan, to escape the ruthless military action of West Pakistan, had fled into India.  One does not know how many of them have really returned to their former homes.

That is the difference between infiltrators and illegal immigrants.  There is a paradox in the American and Indian scene.  The illegal immigrants in the United States pose no security risk to the nation.  On the contrary such immigrants are a useful adjunct for their bouncing economy.  Infiltrators in India pose a grave threat to the peace and tranquility of this country.  They are a spoke in the wheel of our economic growth.

The other paradox is that in their anxiety to contain Soviet sway in Afghanistan the United States encouraged the Taliban and its terrorist outfits of intolerant chauvinists.  When the Soviets retreated America had no use for the Taliban.  Like the chicken coming home to roost America had the first sample of infiltrating terrorists with 9/11.  In retaliation the U.S. fiercely attacked Afghanistan.  The retreating Taliban and allied terror organizations sought other pastures to operate.  They turned their heat on India. 

Unfortunately, it would appear that it may not be possible to repeat the Punjab method of eliminating the infiltrators.  Their tentacles are far more widespread.  It is also feared these infiltrators may be having local anchors.  We thus have, what appear to be, an insoluble and an unending problem of infiltrators.

Like sayings that if you can’t beat them, join them –  since we appear to be unwilling or incapable of dislodging these unwanted population from our midst, we can only hope that the future generations of these infiltrators will settle down to a peaceful life and become a useful part of the nation!---INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)


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