The large-scale illegal migration from Bangladesh to India (mainly to States like Assam and Bengal) has gone on for more than half-a-century since the early 1960s. The number of such illegal migrants and their progeny living in Assam alone would be easily over five million, even though no one seems to have kept any reliable tally of their exact number. What is worse is that most of the men from Bangladesh have three or four wives and several children. As such, the population of Bangladeshi migrants in Assam has increased phenomelly to the extent that such migrants constitute the majority in 11 of the districts of Assam. The day is not far off when several more districts of Assam will have a majority comprising the illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Given this scerio, it is ludicrous to learn that on Monday the government of Bangladesh expressed complete ignorance about illegal immigration of Bangladeshis into Assam. Bangladesh Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohammad Shahriar Alam, who was in Guwahati to attend the eighth round of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue told reporters that the government of India had never officially informed its counterpart in Bangladesh about the issue of illegal migration of Bangladeshi tiols to Assam. “If such illegal migration has taken place, please catch those infiltrators and hand over to us for legal action,” Alam said. He also rejected reports and allegations that Hindus in Bangladesh were constantly subjected to religious persecution. He said there was no scope of such incidents taking place under the present regime in Bangladesh led by Sheikh Hasi. What Alam had to say about the absence of religious persecution in Bangladesh may be dismissed as a matter of opinion. However, it is impossible to accept that the Bangladesh government can be entirely uware of the large-scale illegal influx from Bangladesh to Assam. There are times when pretence is a useful diplomatic device to skirt around unpleasant truths. However, there have to be limits even to diplomatic pretence. The Bangladesh government has clearly transcended such limits.
Absurd Limits of Pretence