Will Canada tell Rathika Sitsabaiesan that Canada Remembrance Day and LTTE Terrorists Day is not the same
Posted on December 1st, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

This is what happens when LTTE tiger cubs are adopted and given asylum in Canada. First they would start establishing ‘Eelam areas’, then they would begin to appoint ‘Eelam’ MPs fooling the Canadian voters and thereafter they would begin celebrating LTTE leaders birthday followed by comparing LTTE combatants to Canadian War Heroes. Canada must now realize and empathize with Sri Lanka on banning any celebration related to the LTTE in Sri Lanka. LTTE are no heroes of Tamils or any others. LTTE are heroes only for those that were part of the LTTE and benefited because of the LTTE. Those that are now trying to celebrate an LTTE defeated in 2009 are only attempting to revive LTTE terrorism. A terrorist organization that killed on foreign shores is very much capable of being contracted to do similar mischief even in Canada where a lot of LTTE cadres who escaped to Canada now live ‘leaderless’ with the assistance of foreign elements connected to LTTE and parties that have over the years funded and supported the LTTE. Rathika’s speech – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qkgCwMmofM

 What cheek for Rathika Sitsabaiesan to think that she had the approval of all when she boldly stood up before the House of Commons in a bid to commemorate a terrorist leader and to add insult to injury even suggest that the LTTE brutes be placed on par with Canadian war veterans and the Remembrance Day celebrations held for them. Now this is carrying the joke a bit too far.

 Canada has tolerated LTTE elements enough and long overdue action against them has to take place whatever pals the pro-LTTE groups have built up with Canadian MPs, media and others over the years – the national security of Canada matters. Moreover, isn’t LTTE designated as a terrorist organization by the Canadian Government?

 Therefore when none other than the MP for Public Safety, Hon. Steven Blaney demands an apology that apology should come from not only Rathika but a host of other pro-LTTE elements operating in Canada that includes Canadian Tamil Congress now proscribed by the GOSL under UN Security Council Resolution 1373 as an LTTE front.

 What an affront to the Canadian veterans, who bravely safeguard the nation and its people to end up being compared to a ruthless outfit like the LTTE terrorists, serial killers for 3.

 It is time Canada took stock of the false statements and lies that pro-LTTE groups and MPs such as Rathika are making fooling the Canadian public. Every LTTE Heroes Day wherever it is held does not show sympathy or empathy with victims, Heroes Day is celebrated for all those that the LTTE killed every year, every month and the LTTE cadres that were responsible for those deaths.

 The massive cut outs, Eelam flags and facebook pages of all organizations associated with LTTE funding and propaganda are all linked to this celebration. They may have all won for themselves citizenship and prominent places among parliamentarians and NGO circles nevertheless, it makes a joke out of government laws when inside Canada’s own parliament an elected MP equates LTTE with Canadian War Heroes and the LTTE Heroes day with Canadian Remembrance Day.

 Suffice it to say that the LTTE Heroes Day has been celebrated openly in Canada for many years. It has been graced by Canadians too.

 Would an apology really suffice for if LTTE is designated a terrorist outfit and the MP is appealing to remember LTTE dead that equates to an allegiance to LTTE. It is a good time for the Canadian authorities to continue investigating all LTTE links and get an estimate of the money laundering they would have been involved in and possibly still involved in as well.

 Is Rathika harbouring a larger plan to lobby for an Eelam in Canada riding on the 300,000 Tamil immigrants? She came into intelligence radar visiting LTTE patrons in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.

 This is not the first occasion that LTTE Heroes Day has been celebrated in Canada or in countries where LTTE remains banned. Often referred to as Mahaveerar Naal, Tamil Heroes Day,Canada Heroes Day (Not for Canadians by LTTE) which has been celebrated on 27th November every year since 1989. They also try to dupe the authorities by referring to Tamil Heritage Day, Remembrance Day – all these are to celebrate LTTE fallen ‘heroes’ and not any Tamil civilian. 

  • In 2014 Tamils were asked to remember the LTTE dead – at the Markham Fairgrounds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxJYz9mjILY
  • In 2012 The Tamil Student’s Association @ University of Toronto St. George Campus celebrated the Mahaveerar Naal
  • In 2011 Canadian PM Stephen Harper was put on the defensive when a party member had hosted a televised tribute to LTTE. Globe and Mail reported that Gavan Paranchothy had hosted a pro-LTTE television show and referred to LTTE as ‘strong and faithful people who stood guard for the Tamils, fought for freedom and peace’. Paranchothy even travelled with Harper to South Asia in 2009 and his electorate is largely Tamil.
  • In 2001 Mahaveer Day (LTTE Heroes Day) organized by the World Tamil Movement (now banned by Canada) was cancelled by Canada following lobbying by expat groups headed by SLUNA – Sri Lanka United National Association
  • Appeals made to Canadian Government to investigate LTTE support/propaganda and financing in Canada sent to the LTTE has never been investigated
  • Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin / M Minna and other MPs have attended LTTE fundraisers in 2000 – No action taken against them
  • Canadian MPs, Local Politicians etc openly take part in LTTE propaganda. Canada’s Liberal MPs have attended ceremonies honoring LTTE leaders – Canada has never investigated them
  • Why is Canadian MP Bob Rae never investigated for links
  • Amnesty International accepted $50,000 from the Canadian Tamil Congress which is now banned by the GOSL. At the presentation of the cheque CTC openly thanked Canadian MP Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird for supporting their cause.

 Yet how many Canadian MPs actually think like Steven Blaney?   

 How many in Canada’s mainstream media have stopped going after LTTE terrorism?

 We can recall the hard editorial of the ‘National Post’ titled ‘Dancing with Tigers’ on 12th May 2000 accusing Paul Martin and M Minna for attending an LTTE fund raising event. The paper also highlighted over 40 Tamil gang shootings in Toronto members who had LTTE military training. The National Post also highlighted the scale of sophisticated crime – casinos, bank frauds, extortions, sale of contraband drugs, trafficking heroin, production and sale of counterfeit passports, illegal migrant smuggling, money laundering etc. The National Post also informed the Canadian public that LTTE fronts were planning victory parties in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa to celebrate LTTE. The National Post even wrote highlighting how LTTE funds use schools for fund raising – Liberal Party MPs had even participated at these events. The National Post even went to the extent of declaring that $22million had been sent by Canada to the LTTE.

 The series of exposures by National Post was following by the statement from Ward Elcock, the Director of Canadian Security Intelligence Service who said that terrorist organizations such as the LTTE are exploiting Canada’s wealth to finance bloodshed around the world ‘If you tolerate these activities, you can run into problems’.

 It was also highlighted how Prof. Elgau V Elagupillai, from the University of Ottawa and Carlton University was a key pro-LTTE front and was apart from being a Liberal Party member, the main organizer as well as being a member of FACT and the World Tamil Movement.  (http://www.uottawa.ca/-irceuo/bio/elagup.htm)  Prof. Elgau was first in the TRO (Tamil Rehabilitation Organization banned)

 We have Steven Blaney on the one hand and Martin Collacot (former Canadian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka and Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute) who says LTTE is trying to influence Canadian MPs, while the Parliamentary delegation from Canada comprising Deputy MP Joe Daniel, Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multiculturalism Hon. Chungen Leung MP, and Member of the Conservative Party Marlene Gallyot visited Sri Lanka in January 2012 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxlQ01IbSf0 went to the extent to say none of what was sent collected by Tamil charities from Canada had reached the Tamil civilians. If so were the recipients not LTTE?

 At the same time if a terrorist organization can’t be compared to soldiers who have fought for core Canadian values, Canada must understand how Sri Lanka feels when remnants of the LTTE and people who prospered because of the LTTE wish to celebrate the deaths of LTTE cadres and not the Sri Lankan armed forces personnel who sacrificed their lives and limbs to protect the nation and free us from terrorism.

 Canada now needs to put diplomatic leverage aside to ensure its citizens are next protected from LTTE terrorists currently operating from Canadian soil. The statists of violence related to LTTE remnants living in Canada should suffice for Canada to take action by first investigating all individuals, organizations, charities associated with banned LTTE movements as well as those declared banned by the GOSL under UNSC Resolution 1373. It is an investigation well worth taking on behalf of the citizens of Canada in view of how terrorists are able to interlock with other terrorists and be contracted by them as well!

 Further reading

Canada’s Rathika – MP or Terrorist http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/05/04/canadas-rathika-mp-or-terrorist/

LTTE activities in Canada. This site makes any to wonder what stopped Canada investigating the LTTE remnants in Canada – http://www.slnewsonline.net/canada.htm

5 Responses to “Will Canada tell Rathika Sitsabaiesan that Canada Remembrance Day and LTTE Terrorists Day is not the same”

  1. Daya Says:

    Is it worth bothering with this naive girl. I remember her visiting Sri lanka in January 2014, and creating little problems for many people. Pretty she was too!

    She’s obviously done very well for herself, but let us not resent that, while calling upon her to educate herself on what was going on for so long. However, educated or not, Rathika must understand that once she sought refuge in Canada, she ought not to be an activist for sections of the country she left. At a young age she is already a Member of Parliament. Life is too short to be wasting on “causes”; if you once begin to charge at windmills imagining them to be castles, you lose the ability to interact with other Canadians – let us sort things out ourselves: outsiders cannot help us!

  2. Independent Says:

    Daya,
    She is training to join Tamil Ealam governement !

  3. crobe Says:

    I am not sure why Steve Blaney, or for that matter, any other Canadian politician is upset over what Rathika Sitsabaiesan did. After all, all 3 major political parties in Canada have fielded card carrying Tiger candidates to win elections in marginal areas. Members of all 3 parties have attended fund raises organized by the Tigers knowing full well what they did(drug & arms running, credit card fraud, human smuggling, child recruitment…….. you get the point). None of these politicians have hesitated to to support the murderous Tigers and have criticized the democratically elected leaders of Sri Lanka. They continue to support the Tigers in Canada and the Tiger Nominated Agents(TNA) in Sri Lanka. In my opinion, Stephen Harper has probably been given membership in the Tiger organization because he sure acts like that.

    So, with all this happening why is anyone surprised? Pretty soon, these Tigers will be asking for an area of their own and demand for their own Prime Minister. I for one don’t give a rats ass what they do in Canada as long as they keep it in Canada and leave Sri Lanka alone.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    In a recent comment against the Provincial Council System, I identified India’s INABILITY to stem Illegal Immigration from Bangla Desh because of INTERFERENCE by India’s State Governments, as an Argument why Sri Lanka should REPEAL the 13th Amendment and the PCs, and replace them with Districts administered by APPOINTED Government Agents.

    Well, it now appears that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has recognized the danger of unrestricted illegal immigration from Bangla Desh into India, and is moving to halt it.

    Will he also recognize, that part of the problem lies with the Federal Government Structure of India, that enables State Governments and Local Politicians to veto and sabotage international agreements negotiated by the Union Government with great difficulty, as Mamata Banerjee did in the case of scuttling the agreement on illegal immigration with Bangla Desh?

    India, before prescribing Federal Government medicine to other nations, Heal Thyself FIRST of the Ills of Federal Governance!
    ……………………..
    Modi vows to halt illegal immigration from BD

    December 01, 2014

    AFP, GUWAHATI, India : Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed Sunday to halt illegal immigration from Bangladesh into Assam, saying they were “destroying” the northeastern state.

    Modi, whose right-wing Hindu nationalist party stormed to power at May elections, said: “Bangladeshis are entering Assam every day and destroying the state.” “I will make an arrangement by way of which all the routes used by them to enter Assam are closed,” he promised in the state’s main city of Guwahati.

    He was addressing members of his Bharatiya Janata Party, which is trying to make political inroads in Assam.
    During his election campaign earlier this year, Modi said illegal immigrants from Bangladesh should pack their bags and leave, warning of tough action if he were elected prime minister.

    Tensions have been high in recent years in Assam. More than 40 Muslims including women and children were slaughtered in May this year by Indian tribal separatists called Bodos.

    Th tribals and some politicians blame unrest between Muslims and Bodos in Assam on an influx of illegal immigrants from Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

    Muslims claim they have been targeted by well-armed Bodo militias in land and other disputes.

    On Sunday Modi promised that his government would permanently resolve the illegal immigration issue by securing a long-pending land swap agreement with Bangladesh.

    “When we execute the land swap deal it might look like a loss for Assam, but in the long run Assam will gain by the deal,” he said. “We are not going to compromise the interests of Assam.”

    India and Bangladesh have for years been trying to resolve their land border disputes, including settling the future of 162 enclaves – small pockets of one country’s territory surrounded by that of the other.

    More than 50,000 people live in the enclaves, cut off from their respective governments and without access to many basic services.

    The enclaves date back to ownership arrangements made centuries ago between local princes. They survived the partition of the sub-continent in 1947 after British rule and Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. The two countries signed an agreement in 2011 to demarcate their 4,000 kilometre (2,500 mile) border.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    ISSUE BRIEF: Politics of Illegal Immigration and India Bangladesh Relations

    Smruti S. Pattanaik
    idsa.in

    May 16, 2014

    The illegal immigration from Bangladesh has been a burning issue in the North East of India, especially in Assam, and has serious socio-political implications. The issue makes seasonal appearances during the elections time which otherwise remains the business of the Border security force (BSF) and the Foreigner Tribunal who are authorized to deal with this issue as mandated by the State. Political salience of the issue of illegal migration, however, can be gauged from the fact that this issue led to verbal duel between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the All Assam Student Union (AASU), which had spearheaded a movement against the illegal immigration. Not to be politically out maneuvered, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) joined the political muscle flexing emphasizing its stance on the issue – all of them in the pursuit of electoral gain by appealing to their support base. BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in an election rally at Ramnagar, said, “As soon as we come to power at the Centre, detention camps housing Hindu migrants from Bangladesh will be done away with … We have a responsibility toward Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries. Where will they go? India is the only place for them. Our government cannot continue to harass them. We will have to accommodate them here.”1 This immediately brought the AASU to say that “Division of illegal migrants on the basis of religion is unjustified and all illegal migrants will have to leave the State.” Later speaking in an election rally in Serampur in West Bengal Modi further said “after May 16, these Bangladeshis better be prepared with their bags packed” again bringing to the fore the politics of illegal migration. Mamta Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, speaking at an election rally in Nandigram dared Modi to touch the Bengalis saying that he has no understanding of the issue. Adding to this ongoing political posturing, Poresh Barua commander of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA, Independent) said, “politicians and lax Indian bureaucracy are allowing these aliens to become Indian nationals and settle in Assam…(to) make the indigenous inhabitants a minority in their own land.”2 In fact each political party in the past has tried to accuse the other of playing vote bank politics.3

    All these rhetoric and the politics surrounding illegal immigration issue is neither new nor is the stance of the BJP on illegal immigration is unknown. It has always made a distinction between the Hindus and Muslims emigrating from Bangladesh considering the former as refugees and terming the later as illegal immigrants. However, in the past the reaction of the BJP when it was in power was muted to the post-election violence in Bangladesh in 2001 which led to the large scale displacement of the Hindus in Bangladesh; some of who migrated to India. Rather, it took a pragmatic view and sent Brajesh Mishra as Prime Minister Vajpayee’s special Secretary to establish contact with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) that assumed power on October 28 in 2001 in Dhaka. From time to time, however, the BJP has raised its concerns regarding attacks on the Hindu minorities in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Since it is expected that the NDA may form a coalition government at the centre, the position of regional parties, apart from BJP’s own stance, on this issue would drive the government’s agenda.

    The Issue of Illegal Immigration from Bangladesh:

    Illegal immigration from Bangladesh has been part of political discourse in the North Eastern region. India has from time to time raised this issue. It actively pursued this issue with General Ershad and later with Begum Khaleda Zia when she visited India in 1992. Since Bangladesh refuses to accept that the Bangladeshis are illegally migrating; India decided to fence the border4 and has adopted push back policy, which sometimes has resulted in tension in the border. The magnitude of this issue, ambivalence of political parties and complete denial on the part off Bangladesh government made the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2001 to announce that the BJP government is contemplating to provide work permit of all the illegal immigrants in India admitting the difficulties in deporting them because of legal and constitutional hurdles.5 In 2003 a crisis erupted when 213 nomadic people especially the snake charmers from Bangladesh were stranded in no-man’s land and Dhaka refused to take them back. 6 This led to border tension and a bilateral political crisis as both India and Bangladesh refused to own these people creating a humanitarian crisis. Finally these people were mysteriously made to vanish from the no-man land as a face saving measure.7 To deal with the issue in 2003 the BJP government introduced Amendment to the Citizenship Act which for the first time defined ‘illegal migrants’ by inserting clause b to section 2 of Citizenship Act 1956.8

    Given the political salience and the reverberation it may have for Bangladesh domestic politics both the Awami League and the BNP do not accept illegal immigration from Bangladesh creating hurdle to resolve this longstanding issue that has been source of political problem in the North East and has contributed to the identity politics in these states. This is one issue on which the civil society groups and intellectuals in Bangladesh maintain a studied silence if prodded join the government bandwagon and deny the phenomena of illegal immigration while privately admit the phenomena, however, justifying it on the ground of lebensraum. Some even go to the extent of arguing that India is not a lucrative destination for Bangladeshis without taking into account the fact that it is those extremely poor people who migrate to work in India as agricultural labourers, construction workers, housemaids and some are sold as prostitutes.9

    Notwithstanding the Assam Accord, the issue of illegal migration remains a problem and has been politicized extensively eluding any solution. The issue of illegal immigration, according to Sanjoy Hazarika, “(V)isibly reshaping and transforming the demographic, ethnic, linguistic and religious profile of large parts of population in these areas, it stirred a potent brew of hatred, suspicion and fear.”10

    The Supreme Court of India in 2005 scrapped the IMDT (Incidentally this is an act applicable only to Assam while other states are governed by foreigner Act) as ultra-virus. Rejecting Centre’s attempt to reintroduce the Act, the SC observed, “The earlier decision (the scrapping of the IMDT Act) had referred to the relevant materials showing that such uncontrolled immigration into north-eastern states posed a threat to the integrity of the nation. What was therefore called for was strict implementation of the directions… so as to ensure that illegal immigrants are sent out of the country…” 11 In 1998, Lt General Sinha who was then the Governor of Assam sent a report to the then President K.R.Narayanan in which he reportedly wrote, “The influx of illegal migrants is turning the lower Assam districts into a Muslim-majority region.”12 There are other analysts in India who recognize this trend, where Assam saw unprecedented Muslim population growth especially in Dhubri, Barpeta, Karimganj and Hailakandi.13 Illegal immigration itself has internal dynamics within Assam where the Assamese Muslims also feel increasingly marginalized by the migrants from Bangladesh. Radical parties like the AIUDF has expanded its support base to include local Muslims who are called Ujani or tholua in Assamese and also Bengali Muslims known as Mian and Bhatia. Now, given the religious polarization precipitated by communal clashes between Muslims and tribes in Kokrajhar last month. The fear that this issue can open ethnic and religious fault line is real. According to D.N.Bezboruah, “It is the Congress that sowed the seed of illegal immigration from Bangladesh for electoral gains, and now it does not know what to do with an explosive situation.”14

    It is true that many illegal migrants from Bangladesh possess ration cards and other documents due to the nexus between the officials and the vested interest which want to win them over as vote banks. At the same time, except for Congress, this issue of illegal immigration has been raised by Budhadeb Bhattacharya, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal and Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister of Tripura.15 Non-acceptance of the issue by Bangladesh only leads to the exploitation of the poor immigrants in the hand of unscrupulous elements. Similarly attempt by police who have little understanding of the problem and unfamiliarity in understanding the language in the metropolis have the danger of lumping even Indian citizens to the illegal category. Deportation without cooperation from Bangladesh remains a problem. For example: till July 2012 total number of 2442 people were deported or pushed back while 42,338 people were declared as foreigners.16 In the absence of bilateral agreement which lays down the procedure for deportation and given the position of the Bangladesh government on the issue India has adopted the policy of push back.17
    Constructing a Counter-narrative in Bangladesh: De-emphasising the Issue

    Interestingly over the years there seem to be an attempt by Bangladeshi intellectuals and columnists to build a counter narrative to the issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigration to India. Some Bangladeshi authors18 now argue that there are 500,000 Indians who are staying illegally in Bangladesh and sending USD 3,716 million quoting Silicon India magazine as if it is some primary source of information.19 One of the authors also cites the source of his information to a survey20 without giving the details of where these surveys were published and who did the survey. Even the article of Silicon India21 that various Bangladeshi authors have generously quoted which includes recent editorial in the New Age22 does not say how they arrived at this figure and the source of their data.23 For example it says “People who are migrating to Bangladesh illegally are from West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram. According to the government authorities of the country, most of them come in search of job opportunities and mostly work in NGOs, garments and textile industries.”24 It is not clear who is the government authority and from which department this information is sourced from. The authenticity of this report that appeared in Silicon India that has been used as a single source for citation remains highly problematic, as this article does not have the name of the author or the name of the sources it has cited. Email to Silicon India magazine is yet to elicit any response.

    Moreover, 500,000 Indians earning 3,716 million would mean each migrant remitting USD 7,500 approximately per annum to India. It is difficult to imagine that the migrants from North East state working in the sectors that is mentioned by the Silicon India would be getting such a high salary that again employed illegally in Bangladesh to remit such a high figure. An analysis of the report of the Reserve Bank of India which keeps the record of remittances from abroad shows that in terms of remittances that India received from abroad, the Gulf countries topped the list followed by North America, South America, Europe, Africa, East Asia and Others (Australia and New Zealand).25 The Bangladeshi authors cite the Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh possessing “Information about illegal staying of Indians in Bangladesh”.26 The question is if the Ministry of Home Affairs in Bangladesh has the information why it is not cracking down on the people staying illegally. Moreover, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Home Affairs website does not contain any document with regard to this issue. Rather, the Ministry of Home Affairs in its Annual Report has elaborated its cooperation with India to address the issue of human trafficking.27 As an analyst points out in South Asia there is a blurring of “distinction between labour migration, irregular migration, and trafficking… it involves a well-organized network of dalals in Bangladesh and India – ‘manpower’ agencies, recruiters, touts, brokers, ‘travel’ agents, and their employees or contacts in many Bangladeshi villages.”28

    Trafficking of Women and children is a major issue for Bangladesh. Recent arrest of traffickers in Jessore by the Bangladesh Border Guards shows that there are attempts to traffic people to India illegally. These traffickers are sometimes engaged to help people cross border illegally. This issue has been affirmed by the Border Security Forces. As an official from Bangladesh Foreign Ministry said that the issue of illegal immigration would be addressed within the larger issue of human trafficking as it remains a politically difficult subject. For domestic political reasons while Bangladesh remains silent on the issue, India highlights the issue for the same reasons. While Bangladesh may not accept the issue of illegal migration, the fact of missing Hindu population is well recognized. Their population is reduced from 9.5 in 2001 census to 8.5 in the 2011 census.29 It is obvious that majority of them migrated to India illegally.

    It appears that by arguing that there are Indian migrants who are illegally living in Bangladesh, there is an attempt to justify illegal immigration from Bangladesh. None of the authors who speak of presence of illegal Indian migrants stress the need to deport those who are staying illegally or make a case for addressing the issue bilaterally. While firing in the border gets more attention, the reasons for such firing gets de-emphasised and framed in humanitarian parameter. No question is asked on why these people were present near the border in the darkness of the night. Thus from India and Bangladesh national perspectives the issue is framed in a nationalistic framework without any thinking on how to resolve the issue. Any zero sum game will whip up nationalistic sentiments. As Ranabir Samaddar points out, “the questions of legality/illegality, therefore, operate in a region away from the life lived on the border.”30

    Dealing with the Issue: India and Bangladesh

    The issue of illegal movement is now addressed within the larger framework of human trafficking. The Ministry of Home Affairs of bangladesh in the 2012 Annual report defines trafficking as, “the end-object of this crime is commercial sexual work, forced labour, prostitution, or other forms of exploitation. As such, unsafe/irregular migration always runs the risk of human trafficking.”31 However, the moot issue is Bangladesh does not accept that Bangladeshis are voluntarily migrating to India under forced circumstances. Nevertheless, the bilateral Task Force of Bangladesh and India on Rescue, Recovery, Repatriation and Integration of Trafficked victims/survivors to discuss human trafficking at least provides a political space to deal with the sensitive subject of people who have migrated ‘involuntarily’.

    Both the countries have put in place joint Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) signed in July 2011, the problem however continues. The reason is while there is night curfew on the Indian side of the border there is no such restriction on the other side. The BSF points out that the compulsion for border patrol for the Bangladesh Border Guard is less apart from the problem that their Border outposts are situated far apart from each other. It is also Delhi-Dhaka relations that influence the border cooperation dynamics. When the two governments are in friendly term there is close cooperation between the border guarding forces and issues are settled in an empathetic manner without recourse to legalistic interpretation of bilateral mechanisms that are in place.32 Cattle smuggling remain a major problem for the BSF. They attribute cross border ethnic network and human traffickers that have network across the border that facilitates illegal migration which is mainly step migration.33 Even, India is used as transit route for some Bangladeshis who cross over to Pakistan and travel beyond.34 In the larger framework the issue of illegal crossing remains a major challenge for both the countries. Rather than dealing with this issue as a problem of trafficking only, the two countries need to take steps to introduce mechanism to deal with this reoccurring problem of immigration. It is a fact that South Asia contributes to the foreign working forces in the Middle East, Europe, East Asia and other part of the world. Therefore, how long Bangladesh can “officially deny that ‘unofficially’ any coming over is taking place”.35 The need is how to go beyond the zero sum game and address the issue. As Hazarika in his study points out, “the social, demographic and political tensions spawned by this problem are too deep to gloss over or to seek quick-fix solution like ‘throwing’ foreigners out.”36

    The issue of illegal migration remains a potent political issue that is likely to cast shadow on bilateral relations especially in the context where the role of states in foreign policy is assuming increasing political salience.37 But now with the BJP government in majority at the centre it has to be seen how the centre-state equation on foreign policy will develop.

    Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.

    1. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/We-must-accommodate-Hindu-Bangladeshi-migrants-Modi-in-Assam/articleshow/30856540.cms
    2. Sanjib Kr Baruah, Politicians, Babus let Migrants into Assam: ULFA Commander, Hindustan Times, 11 May 2014, p.12. Also see, “ULFA Appeal Against Illegal Immigrants”, Assam Tribune, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=sep1712/state06
    3. Poulomi Banerjee, “Immigration is a Dirty Word”, Hindustan Times, May 11, 2014, p.15
    4. The fences are erected in two phases and border road is being constructed to address illegal cross border activities. Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report 2012-13, p.29.
    5. Nitin A Gokhle, “A Election Gimmick”, Outlook, May 8, 2001, http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?211561
    6. For the details of this incident see, Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay, “A Border Face-off”, Frontline, Vol 20(4), February 15-28, 2003, http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2004/stories/20030228003210100.htm. Also see “They have no right to stay here: Advani”, The Hindu, February 6, 2003, http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/2003/02/06/stories/2003020605540100.htm
    7. Haroon Habib, “Bangladesh Immigrants go back”, The Hindu, February7, 2003, http://hindu.com/2003/02/07/stories/2003020705430100.htm
    8. Section 2 (i) of Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2003, http://indiankanoon.org/doc/949775/
    9. For example Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh confirms unskilled labourers constitute the bulk of labour force. About 50 percent of Bangladeshi migrant workers are classified as low skilled, 16 percent are semi skilled, 31 percent are skilled and 03 percent are professionals. Bangladesh is one of the major labour sending countries in the world., Ministry of home affairs, Government of Bangladesh, p.28
    10. Sanjoy Hazarika, Rites of Passage: Border Crossing, Imagined homelands, India’s East and Bangladesh, Penguin, Delhi, 2000, p.7
    11. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2006-12-06/news/27459228_1_…)
    12. Nitin A Gokhle, “A Election Gimmick”, Outlook, May 8, 2001, http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?211561
    13. Wasbir Hussain, “Demographic Jitters”, Outlook, September 20, 2004, http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?225190
    14. As quoted in Samudra Gupta Kashyap, “As Much for Land as for Votes, Hindustan Times, May 14, 2014, p.7
    15. “Home Ministry will issue citizenship to Tripura people”, Deccan Herald, October 7, 2004, http://archive.deccanherald.com/Deccanherald/oct072004/n1.asp. The issue of illegal immigration was also discussed with the Foreign secretary of Bangladesh. See “Bangladesh foreign secretary in Tripura”, Times of India, July 28, 2012, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/bangladesh-foreign-secr
    16. Home and Political Department, Government of Assam on Foreigners’ Issue White Paper, October 20, 2012, p.18
    17. Home and Political Department, Government of Assam on Foreigners’ Issue White Paper, October 20, 2012, p.21
    18. Syed Jamaluddin, “Bangladesh India Economic Relations” Financial Express, July 26, 2009, http://web.archive.org/web/20090815032813/http://www.thefinancialexpress…. Also see Mody-fying Bangladesh India Relations By Shahab Enam Khan and Parvez Abbasi Dhaka Tribune, 1 April, 2014, http://www.dhakatribune.com/long-form/2014/apr/01/modi-fying-bangladesh-…). “BJP leader’s dangerous affront to Bangladesh” Editorial, New Age, April 21, 2014, http://newagebd.net/?p=4516,. These data are verbatim reproduced from Silicon India in all these three articles including Wikipedia,
    19. “15 Nations Sending highest Remittances to India”, Silicon India, 21 May 2013, http://www.siliconindia.com/news/business/15-Nations-Sending-Highest-Rem…. It is difficult to imagine the illegal immigrants from West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram and Meghalaya sending USD 7,400 per annum by working in NGOs, garment and textile industries which would mean they would be earning more than 800 USD per month to be able to save USD 7,432 per year to send back.
    20. Syed Jamaluddin, “Bangladesh India Economic Relations” Financial Express, July 26, 2009, http://web.archive.org/web/20090815032813/http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2009/07/26/74259.html
    21. “15 Nations Sending highest Remittances to India”, Silicon India, 21 May 2013, http://www.siliconindia.com/news/business/15-Nations-Sending-Highest-Remittances-to-India-nid-147515-cid-3.html.
    22. BJP leader’s dangerous affront to Bangladesh (April 21, 2014, http://newagebd.net/?p=4516, editorial, New age)
    23. “15 Nations Sending highest Remittances to India”, 21 May 2013) http://www.siliconindia.com/news/business/15-Nations-Sending-Highest-Rem…. This news is reproduced in another news portal on February 22, 2014, seehttp://bdinn.com/articles/500000-indians-live-and-work-in-bangladesh/
    24. 15 Nations Sending highest Remittances to India”, 21 May 2013) http://www.siliconindia.com/news/business/15-Nations-Sending-Highest-Remittances-to-India-nid-147515-cid-3.html.
    25. RBI Monthly Bulletin, “Remittances from Overseas Indians: Modes of Transfer, Transaction Cost and Time Taken”, December 2013, p.116
    26. Syed Jamaluddin, Financial Express, July 26, 2009, http://web.archive.org/web/20090815032813/http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2009/07/26/74259.html
    27. Ministry of Home Affairs, Combating Human Trafficking: Bangladesh Country Report, 2012, http://mha.gov.bd/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Country_Report_2012.pdf, pp15-16
    28. Sujata Ramachandran, Indifference, impotence, and Intolerance: Transnational Bangladeshis in India, Global Migration Perspectives, No.42, Geneva, 2005, pp..6-7
    29. Kalyan Borooah“Nine Lahk Hindus Vanishes”, Assam Tribune, August 29, 2013, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=aug2913/at05
    30. Ranabir Samaddar, The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal, Sage, Delhi, 1999, p.55
    31. Ministry of Home Affairs, Combating Human Trafficking: Bangladesh Country Report, 2012”, http://mha.gov.bd/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Country_Report_2012.pdf, p.9
    32. Interaction with BSF during a field trip to Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura in March 2014.
    33. Interaction with the BSF during a field trip to the India Bangladesh Border February-March 2014. Illegal immigrants initially migrate and stay for few days in the Border States before migrating to metropolis in search of work or they are provided work by traffickers.
    34. Anju Agnihotri Chaba, “With security tightened at Kashmir border, Bangladeshis take Punjab route to Pakistan”, Indian Express, April 11, 2014, Illegal Bangladeshi migrants using Punjab border to enter Pakistan: BSF, http://ibnlive.in.com/news/illegal-bangladeshi-migrants-using-punjab-bor…. Also See Bangladesh, Ministry of Home Affairs, Combating Human Trafficking: Bangladesh Country Report, 2012, http://mha.gov.bd/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Country_Report_2012.pdf, p.56 which refers to 41 men, 4 women and 5 children repatriated in August 2012.
    35. Ranabir Samaddar, The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal, Sage, Delhi, 1999, p.58
    36. Sanjoy Hazarika, Rites of Passage: Border Crossing, Imagined homelands, India’s East and Banglades”, Penguine, Delhi, 2000, p.7
    37. Shekhar Iyer, “States should have larger say in foreign policy: Modi”, Hindustan Times, 19 October 2013, http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/allaboutnarendramodi/states-should-have-larger-say-in-foreign-policy-modi/article1-1137265.aspx

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