By Neeraj Kaushal Last week, Bangladeshi foreign minister A K Abdul Momen made an important statement that should inform and change the discourse on illegal Bangladeshi presence in India. He indicated that Bangladesh might have its own Indian ‘ghuspaithiyas’. Of course, the diplomat did not use the word intruder, or its Hindi rendition. He merely said, “Some Indian nationals are entering Bangladesh illegally for economic reasons.” His government has asked India for a list of Bangladeshi nationals living illegally in India, and it will allow them to return to Bangladesh, Momen added. Neither country has trustworthy statistics on illegal immigrants living within their borders. Many Indians believe that there are millions of illegal Bangladeshis living in India and their number is growing. This belief has been nurtured not by data, but by the divisive and prejudiced political climate of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). But no one has given any serious thought to whether Indians might also be sneaking into Bangladesh for better economic and developmental opportunities. In the absence of data, one way to test Momen’s statement is by simply weighing the motivations for migration to either country. The data on motivations… Read full this story
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