Kolkata, Jul 5 : As many as 53 out of 294 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal have a high concentration of voters who happen to be illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Similarly, the fate of forty Assembly seats in Assom depends on the votes cast by Bangladeshi infiltrators.
All this has been revealed by a recent report of the union home ministry on infiltration from India's neighbour.
The report has been prepared on the basis of facts and figures provided by the Task Force on Border Management and Assom's former governor S.K. Sinha.
According to the report, at present there are 80 lakh Bangladeshi infiltrators in Bengal, 55 lakh in Assom, 4 lakh in Tripura and 5 lakh in Bihar(Katihar, Purnia and Kishenganj districts) and Jharkhand(Sahebganj district).
As far as West Bengal is concerned, the concentration of infiltrators is quite marked in the border districts like North and South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and North and South 24 Parganas. The affected areas in Assom are Dhubri, Goalpara, Karimganj and Hailakandi, while a similar scenario is noticeable in Kailashar, Sabrum, Udaipur and Belonia areas in Tripura.
The illegal migrants are coming mainly from Sayeedpur, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Kushthia, Meherpur, Pabna, Nitpur, Rohanpur, Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira areas of Bangladesh. Pakistan's ISI is believed to have a hand behind this large-scale infiltration which has been playing havoc with the economy of Bengal and Assom.
Home ministry sources say Harkat-ul-jehadi-Islami(Huji), the dreaded militant outfit active in Bangladesh, has succeeded in sending a large number of militants along with the infiltrators to West Bengal. The ministry has laid stress on an early completion of barbed-wire fencing along the borders with Bangladesh. Of the 2216 km-long border the fencing could be completed only along 1167 km till last year.
The continuous infiltration has brought about serious demographic changes to Bengal's border areas and made the border-map, drawn after the 1974 Indira-Mujib agreement, somewhat irrelevant. The Centre has consequently sought a detailed report from the state government on changes in the population pattern in 66 blocks of nine border districts.
The Bengal administration, which had taken a serious view of the problem in the initial stages of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government, now seems to have accepted it as a fait accompli.The chief minister had adopted some steps to contain the menace when the BJP strongman L.K.Advani was the union home minister. But his initiative has slackened after the installation of the UPA government at the Centre. By Gautam Ghosh