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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Branding the Bangladeshi migrants as terrorists: Illegal immigration or a humanitarian crisis of displacement due to poverty and unemployment?

Am I hated because I am poor?
In the wake of the Jaipur blasts the entire nation is still sad and our hearts go out to the families who have lost their members in this madness.

We don't know who the real perpetrators are and in most of the recent cases of bomb blasts, the police haven't been able to catch the culprits.

But there is a clamour for deporting all the Bangladeshi migrants. Earlier, we used to hear names like Jaish, Lashkar and Hizbul Mujahideen. 

Now, with India and Pakistan cosying up, the name of Bangladesh-based HuJi is the first organisation on which the needle of suspicion is pointed after such an activity.

But should the entire Bangladeshi populace be blamed for this? The politicians are the first to create the hysteria. How can so many Bangladeshis be deported for the wrong-doing of a few persons and even this is not clear if the Bangladeshis were indeed responsible.

Aren't they humans? Is it just because they are poor? And is it urban India's prejudice and contempt for the poor that gets manifested in such demands. They are human beings, who toil hard to earn their bread.


In urban India, it is quite common to hear that yeh jhuggi jhopdi wale', as if those who live in slums are responsible for every menace including petty crimes and making the cities look ugly. 

The same upwardly middle-class and upper-class that can't manage without a domestic help and whose household comes at a standstill is the first to blame them for every ill, just because they are poor.

Barely a couple of days week, a girl Arushi Talwar was murdered in Noida and the murder mystery is yet to be cracked. But initially every channel and paper screamed, 'Nepali servant suspected to the killer' (and not that 'Servant suspected to be the killer').


Why it has to be a Nepali? Couldn't they have just said it, 'servant' or 'domestic help'. The word Nepali shouldn't have been used. But did anybody object? It is clearly racist and in no civilised society, it ought to be allowed to paint an entire group as criminal.

Is it that he was 'the other', an outsider and more so, a poor person. Later it was found that he was also murdered along with Arushi.

This reflects the hollowness of our society. Are all Nepalis criminals? Or, all Bangladeshis terrorists? Of course, the latter are mostly Muslims and have a different religion, which makes them even more an anathema for a large section of populace.

If Bangladeshis are infiltrating and living illegally, there should be a proper policy or they should be identified and given work permits, licences and allowed to live here. But you can't treat a poor person in this way just because he is desperate to feed his family and comes this far to eke out a living.

We all know that India is a target of terrorists. They attack mosques and temples, they kill Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Christians alike. And they ought to be caught. But that should happen. Unfortunately we don't see the real culprits arrested. We just hear jingoistic rhetoric and hysteria.


And who asks for the deportation? India's former deputy prime minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, who himself had left the land of his birth [now Pakistan] came to this country! Unfortunately the fiery speeches do little to help anybody's case or nab the culpirts.

In 1984, two guys killed Indira Gandhi and we had statements like 'A tree falls, tremors are felt' that gave virtual license to mob to kill innocent Sikhs. We must not lose sanity. A story 'The Usual Suspects' in The Daily Star of Bangladesh written by Naeem Mohaiemen starts with the quote:

"They let us cook rice-daal for them, let us raise their children, trust us with the keys to house-home-jewelry. And then they turn around and vote for people who call us terrorists and want to cut us into pieces and bury us inside the ground." -- Bangladeshi taxi driver in Delhi.


Round up the usual suspects. Calling Abdul, Rahman, Rahim, Karim, Salim. All you "illegal" Bangladeshi immigrants within our borders. Report to the newest detention centers. It's not who you say you are, it's what we say you are.

Bangladesh has emerged as the all-purpose "Nondo Ghosh" [joto dosh] for Indian intelligence agencies. Attack on train station? Defused bombs? Bicycle bombs? Bag bombs? It must be the ultra-efficient, tentacle-spreading spectre of "terrorist organisations based in Bangladesh."

There is enough to write on the issue. We, Indians, also go to other countries looking for jobs. I think there has been enough of hysteria. There must be a proper system to deal with unchecked migration--either permit system or certain other visa.

The situation is similar in Assam, where every Muslim, even those speaking Bengali and ethnic Assamese, are termed as foreigners and outsiders or 'settlers'. But poor can't be termed criminals and exploited. We must understand the humanitarian aspect. That's all I want to say for the moment. 


!!! said...

Adnan Sahib

I am amazed at some comments in this post...You seem to want to make it mandatory for India to allow all kinds of illegal immigrants. You accept that the Bangladeshi immigrants are ILLEGAL immigrants... but there is a expectation that they should be allowed to stay here...? WHY????
We have enough poor of our own in India - if its just for charity of allowing everyone an opportunity to make a living?

Second - unfortunately - it is an old saying "a bad fish spoils who whole pond"... so its expected that if the pond needs to be cleaned, a lot of good fish will be vetted as well... Afterall, the bad fish is not swimming around with a badge of "I am the BAD FISH" around it...

Lastly... amazing statement you have made...

"And who asks for the deportation. A man LK Advani who himself had left the land of his birth came to this country!"
This made me wonder - who made a more ludicrous statement - you or our home minister when he equated Sarabjit Singh with Guru.

Advani was born in pre-partion era in the un-divided India... in case you forgot about his age :-)

-A Soul in Exile

indscribe said...

Dear ASIE sahab.

1. I don't say that I support Bangladeshi infiltration. I am against demonising all Bangladeshi migrants in India.

2. Koi apnaa ghar khushi se chhod kar nahiiN aataaa...Who would like to leave his hometown and country happily. You are from Kashmir and nobody would feel the pain more than you. The poor Bangladeshis have come here to earn their living. Not to increase the population of Muslims in India, which is the reason many detest their presence in this country unlike Nepalese populace.

3. There is no policy, as always in India. Either they should be stopped or given temporary work permits and there must be a system. Deportation, if needed, has to be done properly. Not that after a blast, all of a sudden you treat a group as criminals.

That's my point, put humbly. Thanks for your comments.


shadows said...

In urban India, it is quite common to hear that yeh jhuggi jhopdi wale', as if those who live in slums are responsible for every menace including petty crimes and making the cities look ugly.


1. yeh jhuggi jhopdi wale may not be responsible for every menace, but a lot of criminal activity is concentrated there.
2. Yes they make cities look ugly

Anonymous said...

o here come the apologists for criminals. which part of ILLEGAL do you not get ? Terrorists or not, illegal immigrants have to go. If this is time the cops choose to establish the law, so be it. Any time is good for it. Please don't do this propaganda in favour of illegal immigrants. A few states are gone forever (west bengal, lower assam). now, let the rest of india survive.

Arvind Iyer said...

You have diluted the theme of your article by digressing into efficacy of media reports, L.K.Advani references and the mentality of middle class.

After the Parliament attack, a round of SMSes spread across networks which said "All muslims are not terrorists. But all terrorists are muslims."

You may say that the nation/security forces are being biased against muslims. Or you may view this as an effective means to catch the culprits.

A similar case for the Jaipur blasts. If scrutiny into a particular set/community (like bangladeshis) is required, so be it.

The same upwardly middle-class and upper-class that can't manage without a domestic help and whose household comes at a standstill is the first to blame them for every ill, just because they are poor...

Whether the rest of the community serves food, cooks dal or does scientific research is not relevant. Using an emotional lever like that is uncalled for.

I hope you are able to differentiate between Stereotyping and Reality.

Sunil Deepak said...

In so many countries, this bashing of the "other" seems to be sureshot way to win elections. Hitler built his charisma out of this. Today in Europe, they continue on playing the same theme. In Italy xenophobic parties have decided that roms (gypsies) from Romania are the reason for all crimes and problems. Media happily plays along, pointing fingers at foreign emigrants at every opportunity.

Vibhash Prakash Awasthi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anser Azim said...

I think the point that Adnan Saheb has raised is not legalizing the Bangladeshi migrants stay in India but putting all the blames upon them for all the crimes and now to terrorism. Crimes are committed by the followers of all the communities and races and religions. I believe that our borders should be secured properly but that does not mean that people who have infiltrated into our borders be denied their human rights and be blamed even for the Bajpais knee pain. In my opinion people who commit crimes should be punished and targetted but not their race, religion, cast and nationality and should not be treated like the Gypsies as Sunil has mentioned. The Indian media at times tends to be judgemental without looking into facts.
anser azim

Vibhash Prakash Awasthi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ye manzilen !! said...

Hum bhi door desh "permit" pe rehta hoon and heard people say that " all those F****g Indians should be deported" I am sure a lot of ur readers that are immigrants in west have heard these lines from time to time.....

It is just that we ( meaning they) want to have the ability to say the same lines to someone else...thats all!

However, I don't think folks should be allowed to stay without proper permits and proceedures...no matter where they are from...

Vibhash Prakash Awasthi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

the safest society is where everyone is killed at birth...
Few peoplerealize that the whole system of restricting migration of people across borders is one of the biggest reasons why the poor continue to remain poor.... But anyway, nationalism and jingoism rocks for most as it demands sacrifices and humiliations only from and for the others

Maddy said...

Hi my old friend, I am back with something little irrelavant with the post (Bangladeshi) still related to innocent muslims..

Do you know about a recent short movie Fitna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitna_(film))
if no please first read about it and reaction and threat movie maker and web-hosts are facing and then watch it.
And if yes, dear innocent muslim just answer my following question-

1.With good faith just approximately tell how many Muslims (percentage) consider the interpretation of 'Holy' Quran as shown in movie correct??

2. How many in India will follow it as shown in movie??

3. Your personal view about these 'interpretations'

Dear friend, so it should not be strange to know why they are usual suspect....
Remeber friend, "AN ORTHODOX society will not flourish" be it an Hindu,Muslim or anyone

Those sitting on other side of stage giving encouraging(??) speeches are fooling everyone...

Sorry for this topic but I couldnt resist writing after watching fitna ..........
I pray all shown in movie may turn untrue

May ALMIGHTY give everyone true wisdom, above the level of Quran and Geeta ......to from eyes of humanity

khulja sim sim said...

this piece has been an eye opener n nw i realise tht sumwere evn i ws involvd in this..poor ppl shudn't b punishd

Diganta said...

Excellent post and well-done ... happy that you have read the daily star article. I though I would post something like this but you did it ahead of me :)

Anser Azim said...

Adnan Sahib: I heard this on NPR by Phillip Reeves while driving to work and reminded me your lines that how we all put blame on poor servants, minorities, lower cast people in our society for our own misdeeds. I am sahring this with you and hope this will interest you.

anser azim chicago

adal said...

Dear Mr. Maddy,
I wish to bring to your kind consideration that during 5th to 10the centuries of the Christian era,
Europe was under "Dark Ages".
Thanks to the Papal dictat no creative activity took place in it!
The loving and caring God desired to revolutionise th world. So He ordained Muhammed as His LasT Messengerand sent him as "Mercy to all His creations" and His last revelation to him, the Quran,was "guidance ao entire mankind"His mission was to spread Islam and ensure the best behaviour of mankind!His life, sayings and Quran wer to guide mankind to lead a righteous life and eschew evil!
The first commandmnet to Muhamed by His lord was to "read in the name of the Lord ,who has created all things. Created man from a
mere clot of 'congealeblood!
'Also proclaim that yourbountiful God has taught through the art of writing all that man did not know!
Thus, Quran remains tje only scripture which gives importane to learning and acquiring wisdom!
The nomadic Bedouin Arabs followed
that quranic direction and soon became learned and occupied highposition in ihe Islamo\ic democratic polity created by the
Collecting treatises of eminent scholars and researchers of Greece, Rome, Egypt,Persia, india and China,the Arabs translated them in arabic and assimilated them during 7 th century and startedtheir own researches and discoveries from 8th to the 16th centuries.The westerners availed them and further extended the frontiers of knowledge sine the 17th century!
However, the westerners presented the Mulims in poor light!That came to be accepted by others also.
The last false accusation against the Muslims in 20th centutury was "islamic Terrorism!"
"Jehad"is the one Arabic word which has been over-used and hghly misinterpretted in comntempory world!
Literally jehad means "striving to the utmost towards excellence!
Immediately after the formation of the Islamic state in Madina, the prophet felt that that Kuraish
were bent upon crushing it with all their might.Then God authorised the prophet to fight the aggressors and noi to remain contented till they were uprooted.
This was for a very short period of time only.
However, Muslims are enjoined to fight "Jihade Kabeer" (Greater Jihad) with verses from Quran only.(Refer Quran 25:52).This is corrobotated by QUranic dictat for interfaith debate found in verse of chapter.
Geert Wilder's quotations of Quranic verss are akin to the "devil quoting scriptures for his own puposes!'
For instance, he quotes verse 8 :60as quranic injunction for war and violence. On the other hand, it is the ideal for preparation for any war.It lays down thatone's preparation forwar must be such that he has the best equipments.logistics that could instill fear in the mind of our adversary and the cause must be such thet he too shouldpraise its worth!
The least said about such mischievous propaganda is better. .

Maddy said...

I already said I too want to disbelieve all shown in movie... I agree that there are few world religions which used force for establishment instead of pure preaching... but I feel insecure when some crazy men hits pentagon with plane and in court proudly claim to help Islam and to continue to do so...

For today atleast I am happy. see the link:

My aim was to put link before author puts a new blog up here:):)

adal said...

Allah has declared that He has made Muslims the "middle-ordered society"!(Holy Quran 2:143).
That means a Muslim has to be a 'centrist' and never an extremust or terrorist!
Verse 4:29 specifically declares "suicide" and }homicide' as taboo in Islam.
If some crazy fellows do such foolish acts and try to bring in the name of Islam, how could Islam be blamed?
The world Muslim population today is larger than India's total population! more than 130 crores1
How many will be the terrorists?
0.0001%Why should the world with 5oo crore population fear them?
All false propa ganda of US!
May God show the right light to people the world over!

ASP said...

How on earth you could support ILLEGAL immigrants from Bangladesh in India or talk/write in favour of it? I don't care if they are Hindu, Muslim, Nepali.

Who should really worry about their welfare their own government, their people or Indian government or for that matter we, Indians?

We've enough of our own masses leaving under poverty, serving as a maid / domestic help or doing what "Bangladeshi taxi driver in Delhi" quoted as mentioned in your article (By the way it's a good attempt to attract sympathy towards them by mentioning such an example, isn't it? ).

Just consider the situation - when they illegally migrate to India, they essentially come to land of Indian tax payers. Do they contribute to taxes? would they ever do it? Clearly not because they come here to win "do waqt ki roti". But does that mean we should be liberal enough to allow this? and where would it lead us to? Is it hard to imagine that they could pose serious threat to India's integrity/internal security, soon they grow stronger in course of time? Would you expect them to become loyal to India over whatever period they spend here earning bread & butter?

I appreciate your simpathetic view and humane stance and I'm not against it. But we must look into our own problems first. I agree there should be proper system (just not policies) to handle whole migration issue. But in (alleged) absence of it, why not think over it in national interest?

ASP said...

I wonder what could be your reaction to this news http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mumbai/Three_Bangladeshis_arrested_with_fake_currency/articleshow/3666153.cms

Mansi said...

Can't believe this article is written by an Indian!!!!!!!!!
It's not about poor people or some religion. It is concerned with the security of our country!

"Are all Nepalis criminals? Or, all Bangladeshis terrorists? Of course, the latter are mostly Muslims and have a different religion, which makes them even more an anathema for a large section of populace"
No not all , but it is very easier for a person of foreign nationality ( countries with which we have open borders) to commit a crime and escape.
I am from Jaipur and know this is very true.
With no records,no identification they can very easily escape our laws. It is only when some blasts occur,people look at this problem.

"How can so many Bangladeshis be deported for the wrong-doing of a few persons and even this is not clear if the Bangladeshis were indeed responsible."

Well , they all were IILEGAL immigrants. So this step should have been taken previously.

"If Bangladeshis are infiltrating and living illegally, there should be a proper policy or they should be identified and given work permits, licences and allowed to live here."

There is a proper policy and person living illegally should be deported as soon as possible.
I won't mind if this happens with Indian living ILLEGALLY in other countries.
Every country has some rules for immigration and those rules must be followed.