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Though this is an old thing continuing since decades, the infiltrators now have become so emboldened that they have started setting up their own villages and often oust local people by force from there. The recent development of the migrants setting up 16 villages at Lunglei district in South Mizoram has alerted both the state government and the Centre.  

Of the nine villages, four are in Aizawl district followed by three in Champhai and two in Mamit. The Mizo Students’ Union (MSU), has asked the state government to raze it within this month. The gravity of this issue of creating villages by Bangladeshi infiltrators can be gauged from the fact that the Legislative Assembly of Mizoram was told that there exists 25 illegal villages across the state.

Earlier this year, the MSU and Mizo Zirlai Pawl conducted a study of the bordering areas to take stock of mushrooming of illegal villages in the area. They found the infiltration is continuing which directly means creation of more such villages. The Zoram People’s Movement also is demanding an immediate solution to this.

Soon after the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was created, the security was beefed up along the Mizoram-Assam border to curb possible influx of Bangladeshis but the silent invasion continued unabated forcing Mizoram to fall its victim.

Despite strict policing of Mizoram-Assam boundaries such as in Vairengte, Saiphai, Bairabi and Kanhmun, the infiltration could not be stopped. All police stations and outposts in Mizoram regularly conduct the Inner-line Permit drives, but infiltration from across borders continues.

The recent Press Information Bureau handout say 164.040km of border fencing and 4.974km of flood lighting have been completed till February 2019. However, the infiltration continues. This throws the issue of initiation of drastic steps at the governmental levels to save Mizoram from silent invasion.

In fact, the creation of villages by Bangladeshis will create serious identify crisis in Mizoram in the days to come. There are certain areas where the police almost regularly arrest illegal migrants. These Mizoram-Assam areas are: Vairengte, Saiphai, Bairabi and Kanhmun.

This makes it imperative that the state government must initiate drastic steps to stop the infiltration lest such villages keep on mushrooming all over the state. Here, we must quote the 2011 World Bank Report that says India-Bangladesh Migration Corridor is fourth largest among all the migration corridors of the world. This indeed is a matter of grave concern for Mizoram.

Most of the people do not know that the year 2019 marks the 100th year of continuous infiltration of Bengali Muslims in what was the North Eastern Frontier Province (NEFA): today’s Northeast India. All efforts initiated in a span of 100 years simply happened to be a saga of failure.

Though the British tried to stop it in 1920 by promulgating the Inner Line System, it continued unabated. Following its failure, the Immigrant (Expulsion from Assam) Act 1950 was passed. But it also failed prompting the Centre to issue the ‘Prevention of Infiltration from Pakistan to Assam Plan (1964)’.

Amlan Home Chowdhury

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