Wednesday, August 8, 2012

carnage at Assam; Greece purges illegal immigrants


India or for that matter any country must take care of its citizens and do all that is required for protecting them.  An outsider is always an outsider and illegal immigrants are to be dealt with sternly…

Sadly, in July 2012 the Indian state of Assam saw outbreak of violence between indigenous Bodos and muslim immigrants.   More than 60 people reportedly have died  and over 400,000 people have been displaced, from almost 400 villages, taking shelter in 270 relief camps.  In the blame game, Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi blamed the national government for "delay in army deployment to riot-hit areas" and immediately, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the relief camps in Kokrajhar and said the recent violence is a blot on the face of India.

This violent outbreak follows pre-existing ethnic tensions between the indigenous Bodo community and migrant Muslims from Bangladesh.  At places like Mandapam, Srilankans refugees lead a miserable life in camps with no facilities but the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Burma have infiltrated and have settled so comfortably that they enjoy all the benefits and by virtue of political grouping, they are able to dictate on who should get elected from those places.  Really abhorrent situation indeed.   Over the years, increased competition for livelihood, land, and political power have led to frequent incidents of violence, including large scale clashes.  The ethnic tribes feel insecure and threatened in their own land.  In an unusual intervention last week, the election commissioner, H.S. Brahma suggested that the details of the 2011 census may reveal that 11 of the 27 districts of Assam now have a Muslim majority due to illegal immigration from Bangladesh.

At the National capital, the  issue of Assam violence created turmoil in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the monsoon session with several opposition members storming the Well.  Many political parties trooped into the Well condemning the violence. The opposition members were demanding an immediate discussion on the issue suspending the Question Hour.  S. Bwiswamuthiary (BPF) portested against dubbing the violence in Assam as ethnic violence. He contended that the violence was a result of illegal immigration from Bangladesh.  Advani, who has visited relief camps in Kokrajhar, said the people of Assam "have become refugees in their own state," adding that women he met there were worried they may never be able to return to their homes. He said that the violence in Assam should not be treated as an ethnic issue, or a communal issue as "the main issue is who is an Indian and who is from outside; this should be recognized."

It is a problem not just for Assam, but for the whole of India, this should be recognized.  One need to read about the way ‘illegal immigrants’ are treated in other countries.  Canadian border is known to be the world’s longest undefended border compared to the United States- Mexico border where it secured and is constantly patrolled by the immigration personnel to prevent illegal migration and drug trafficking.   US considers that the  increase in number of illegal immigrants into US  poses a great threat to the country since these illegal aliens are connected with issues such as smuggling, identity theft, human trafficking, marketing fraud, and terrorism.  Since September 2001 Canada had invested more than $10 billion in border security and emergency preparedness.

Greece may be plagued by financial turmoil still they have resolved to purge illegal immigrants.  There are reports that the  Greek authorities are rounding up thousands of suspected illegal immigrants in a large-scale deportation drive.  Up to 6,000 were detained over the weekend in Athens and more than 1,600 are to be deported in the next few days.  Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias is quoted as saying that  Greece could not afford an ‘invasion of immigrants’.

Police in the Greek capital have been seen stopping African and Asian people in the street for identification checks.  The rulers now blame the  mass migration for bringing the country ‘to the brink of collapse’.  ‘The country is being lost, What is happening now is [Greece’s] greatest invasion ever,’ the Minister said. ‘Whoever is arrested will be held and then deported.  Many of those heading into the economically-fragile country are from Asia and AfricaGreece also fears that there could soon be an influx of migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war. Greece has long been Europe’s main entry point for illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa seeking a better life in the West.

According to rough estimates, up to 80 per cent of all migrants heading into the EU come via Greece. But the country’s disastrous economic problems and high unemployment are making the problem worse than ever.  Some 100,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to slip into the country every year and up to a million are believed to live in Greece, which has a total population of about 11million. The uncontrolled influx, which coincided with a spike in crime, has contributed to the rise of a Greek far-Right political party.  Golden Dawn gained nearly 7 per cent of the vote in recent parliamentary elections. It has won a lot of support from young Greeks who blame migrants for their lack of job opportunities.

A country has to differentiate between the illegal immigrants and those asylum seekers and must ensure that those who enter would never become a threat to the citizens of the country.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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