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Why the big influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into South India will happen through Kerala

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    New Delhi, Aug 2: On March 16 2017, the Kerala police arrested seven Bangladeshi nationals employed at a plywood factory and charged them with illegal immigration. This is just one of the many cases that were reported from Kerala over the years where several lakhs of Bangladeshis live illegally.

    Why the big influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into South India will happen through Kerala

    It become important to discuss the Kerala scenario in the wake of an Intelligence Bureau report stating that there would be more influx of illegal immigrants into South India after the NRC was published by the Assam government. There are already reports that suggest that the touts in Kerala are already active and would look to facilitate the entry of more such persons into the state.

    Officials say that the route into South India would be through Kerala, following which attempts would be made to infiltrate into the other southern states such as Telangana and Karnataka. They would be brought in as estate labour like has been done in the past officials say. In the midst of all this, there is also talk in Kodagu district, Karnataka, not to employe such persons until and unless they have a valid Indian citizenship document.

    Kerala has always had an issue with migrant labour. There has been a high influx of migrant population from West Bengal and this has made it easy for the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

    An official from Kerala tells OneIndia that the Bangladeshi's blend with the Bengali speaking population and there is no proper or effective mechanism to identify them.

    Officials point out that the problem becomes harder to deal with as the population is a floating one. They move from one state to another with the help of touts and this makes it even harder to keep tabs on them.

    Moreover illegal immigration from Bangladesh extended up to Kerala through the migration corridor. This corridor starting at Bangladesh connects to Kerala through Assam and West Bengal. The illegal immigrants also find Kerala to be a good place to live in as it has the country's highest wage rate in the unorganised sector. Further the chances of interceptions are less in Kerala and this has made the place even more ideal to be in.

    The AAWAZ health insurance scheme too has come in handy for the illegal immigrants.

    Data with the Ministry for Home Affairs states that, Kerala has issued nearly 62,000 registration cards to migrant workers. Moreover no real effort has gone in to sort out the illegal immigrants including Rohingyas from the migrants, officials in the Home Ministry tell OneIndia.

    The IB had after the publication of the NRC had sounded an alert stating that more people from Assam could infiltrate into southern states. The respective state police have been told to keep a close watch on the borders and also track down touts who have been aiding illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The alert is particularly high in states such as Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal.

    A high alert has also been sounded along the Assam-Bengal border after the final draft of the NRC was released on Monday, by the Assam government. The forces have been asked to intensify vigil along the border to stop any spill over or influx by those whose names do not feature in the list.

    On Monday over 40 lakh persons did not feature in the final draft of the NRC. They have now been given time to file a claim or objection before the final list is released.

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