GUWAHATI, March 19 - More than eleven lakh Bangladeshi nationals entered three states of the Northeast during the period from 1971 to 1983. This was mentioned in a report of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America. The report also said that population growth of Bangladesh and large scale immigration to the neighbouring countries might affect the relation of that country with its neighbours.
The CIA report of 1983, which was declassified recently, gave a gloomy picture of the extent of migration of people from Bangladesh and said that according to estimates and reports available, during the period from 1971 to 1983, at least six lakh Bangladeshi nationals from that country entered Assam, at least three lakh entered Meghalaya and around two lakh entered Tripura.
The report said that very high population growth in Bangladesh is a matter of serious concern and even foreign donations and expertise for population control measures in the country did not yield the desired results. The continuing flow of economic migration to India may affect the relation between the two countries as no one will voluntarily accept migrants, whether Hindus or Muslims, the report said. All the neighbours of Bangladesh have high population growth and meagre financial resources and it might not be possible for them to accommodate high level of migration of foreign nationals.
The CIA said that during the Bangladesh liberation war, about 10 million refugees flooded the northeastern region of India during a period of about nine months. But a sizeable number of them were sent back by the Government of India after the liberation of Bangladesh.
The report revealed that early immigration from Bangladesh after its liberation started in West Bengal. But after the Government of India tightened security in that area, the Northeast faced the impact of immigration, which in turn, would pose a threat to regional stability. The report further said that the decline in Hindu population in Bangladesh proved that a sizeable number of them migrated to India, while it is believed that a large number of Muslims also migrated to India over the years. It is estimated that about one fourth of the Bangladeshi nationals, who migrated to India, particularly those who migrated to Assam, were Muslims, the report added.
The CIA pointed out that initially both the governments in India and Bangladesh had shown little interest on the issue of illegal migration. But later India decided to fence the international border to check such illegal migration. The CIA also warned that continuous migration might affect the relation between India and Bangladesh in other key areas, including the flow of water of rivers.