2. Immigration from Bangladesh
2.1. The uses of migration
������ In the demographic competition, simple procreation is not the only factor.� There are cases where Muslims are in a minority and use migra�tion to remedy their minority con�dition.� This does not, of course, mean that all Muslims involved in such migration are conscious soldiers in a demographic offensive ("�infiltrators"), but an element of planning may nonetheless be involved, or may arise in certain activist circles once the polit�ical potential of an ongoing migra�tion process becomes ap�parent.�
������ Thus, about the situation in Euro�pe, Bat Ye'or obser�ves: "The Is�lamicist move�ment does not conceal its intention to islamize Europe at all.� Brochu�res sold in Europ�ean Islamic cent�res explain goal and means, includ�ing conver�sion work, marri�ages with native women, and espec�ially immigration.� Knowing that Islam always star�ted as a minor�ity in the countries it con�quered, these ideologues con�sider the implan�tation of Islam in Europe and the USA as a great chance for Is�lam."�
������ The Islamic calendar starts with a momentous migra�tion, that of Mohammed and his followers from Mecca to Medina.� The result of this immigration from the Medinese viewpoint was that the city lost its auto�nomy to Mohamm�ed, who became its dictator and expelled or killed sec�tions of its population.
������ A rec�ent��� case of the use of demography� in the interes����������t of Islam was on the occasion of the 1994 provin�cial elections in the Malay�sian provi�nce of Sabah: "The number of Muslim‑dominated constitue�ncies in Sabah has increased from 17 in 1990 to 24 in 1994.� The [Chri�stian�‑led] Parti Bersatu Sabah has accused [the ruling party] of flooding the state with Muslim immigrants from In�donesia and the Philippi�nes.� Some es�timates put the number of immigrants as high as 800,000", with Sabah's original population numbering 1.5 mil�lion.�
������ The situation in In�dia follows the same pat�tern: higher Muslim birth rate, and migra�tion creating Muslim majorities in strategic plac�es.� This is most visible in the problem of illegal im�migrat�ion from Bangladesh in the 1980s and 90s, the most common occasion for using the term "demog�raphic aggres�sion".� In the case of im�migration, the intentionality is un�de�niable but it is not neces�sarily or at least not exclusively motiva�ted by Islamic concerns: Bangladesh is simply over�populated and wants to get rid of its populat�ion surp�lus by all means available.� Non-Muslim gover�nments would probably pursue a similar policy in similar circumstan�ces.
������ One factor which makes India the prime target of Bangladesh's demo�graphic dumping policy, apart from its geographical contiguity, is the tough policy of other countries vis-�-vis illegal or even legal im�migran�ts: "At the end of last year, there were still more than 100,000 illegal immigrant workers from Bangladesh in Malaysia.� As of early February 1997 they are massively expelled by the Malay Government. (...) Bangla�desh has some experience with such disast�ers: last year already, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar expelled some 50,000 illegal Bangladeshis. (...) Three years ago, the Malaysian Government signed an agreement with the Govern�ment in Dhaka agreeing to take in 50,000 new guest workers from Bangladesh.� But when more and more Bangladeshis entered the countries secretly and started to work without work permit, Malay�sia canceled the agreement unilaterally."� Against Bangladesh's aggressive policy of encouraging its citizens to trespass against the laws of other countries by settling there without permit, most other countries defend themselves with a non-nonsense policy of cracking down on these infiltrators.
2.2. Refugees and migrants
������ Immigration from Bangladesh is of two types.� Firstly there are members of the minority communities fleeing occasional waves of per�secution or the more general sense of being second-class citiz�ens under the Islamic dispensation.�� Few Hindus would disput������������������e their right to settle down in India.� Secondly, there are Mus�lims seek�ing econom��ic oppor�tunities or sheer living space, which dirt-poor and inten�sely overc�rowded Banglad�esh cannot offer to the ever-larger num�bers of newcomers on the hous�ing and labour market.
������ Hindu Revivalists are glad to quote unsuspect secular sources to confirm their worst misgivings about Muslim demographic aggres�sion from Bangladesh.� A 1992 report prepared by B.B. Dutta for the North-Eastern Congr�ess Coordination Com�mittee meeting in Guwahati looked into both types of im�migration and notes:
������ "Between 1971 and 1981, Bangladesh census records show a reduc�tion of 39 lakhs in the minority population.
������ "Between 1981-89, 36 lakh religious minorities were missing from that coun�try.
������ "In 1972, there were 7.5 lakh Bihari Muslims in the camps in Dacca.� As a result of mediation by Saudi Arabia only 33,000 of them were accepted by Paki�stan.� At pres�e�nt, there are less than two lakhs in the camps, where have the rest gone? (...)
������ "It would be interesting to note that a group of intellectuals in Dacca is seeking to legitimise the migrat�ion of Muslims into the adjoining areas of North East region by invoking the theory of lebensraum or living space.� A number of Dacca dailies carried articles written on these lines by university professors.� They were not at all apologetic about the in�filtrati�on.� People are sought to be inspired by the hope that one day the north-eastern region will be added to Bangladesh giving it a natural boundary in place of present one which throttles Bangla�desh."
������ So, there is a large emigration of non-Muslims, but there is also a large emi�gration of Muslims, as exemplif�ied by the case of the Bihari Muslims in Bangladesh, of whom the great major�ity, feeling unwelcome both in Bangl�adesh and in Pakistan, have simply returned to Bihar and ad�join�ing areas, whence their parents had left for the promi�sed land of (East) Pakistan in 1947.� Moreo�ver, the inten�tiona�lity of the population shift from Bangladesh to India is expressed quite candidly by opinion leaders in Banglad�esh.
������ The BJP argues that refugees from persecution and illegal economic migrants merit a different treat�ment, as is assumed in the arrangements for refugee relief of most countries.� But sec�ularists see it differently, for "unlike the BJP, the Congre�ss (I) views both Hindus and Muslim from Bangladesh as in�filtrat�ors".��� Terminology is a part of the problem here, with secularists systematically describing Hindu refugees as "migrants" if not "infiltrators", and Muslim illegal immigrants as "refugees".
2.3. An estimate of the numbers
������ Arun Shourie has brought the findings of the police and other Government agencies to the notice of the publ�ic.� According to an Inter�nal Note prepared by the Home Minist�ry, "large-scale infiltration has changed the demographic landscape of the bor�ders", and it also af�fects Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, etc.�
������ By 1987, the number of illegal immigrants in West Ben�gal alone was ca. 4.4 million, and 2 to 3 million in Assam, so that "large stretches of the border in these states are becoming predominantly inhabited by Banglade�shi Muslims.� The simme�ring communal tension in some of the border areas is one of the manife�stations of the effects of large-scale illegal migration of Bangl�adeshi nationals who have slowly displaced or dispossessed the local population, particularly those belonging to the Hindu com�munity".� Moreov�er: "In the metropolitan cities of Delhi and Bombay not less than 4 to 5 lakh Bangladeshi Muslims have been residi�ng".
������ The Hindu population in East Bengal had declined from 33% in 1901 to 28% in 1941.� It fell to 22% by 1951 due to the Partition and the post-Partition exodus, and to 18.5% in 1961.� By 1971, it had fallen to 13.5%, partly due to the 1971 massacre by the Pakistani Army, partly due to intermittent waves of emigrati�on.� The 1981 figure was 12.1%.� In 1989 and 1990, due to "large-scale destru�ction, desecration and damage inflic�ted on Hindu temples and religious institutions", "clandestine migrat�ion��� by the Hindus to India went up".
� ���� On top of the con�tinu�ous trickle of Hin�du‑Buddh�ist refugees fleeing discrimi�nat�ion and harassment, the big major�ity of clandestine immigrants consisted of Muslims seeking "living space".� It is very hard to count them, but the difference between the actual Bangladesh populat�ion in 1991 and predictions for 1991 based on the birth rate and other data shows that millions of people have disappeared from the radar screen of Bangladeshi census workers: "The net shortfall, according to Bangla�desh gover�nment projec�tion was between 7.24 and 9.24 million, and according to UNDP estimates it was between 12.24 and 14.24 million."� And since 1991, mil�li�ons more have been added to that number.
2.4. Indian worries
������ All the BJP's "genuine secularists" are, in their heart of hearts, wor�ried about the demographic increase of the minorities, but they don't want to admit it in so many words.� Thus, in its 1996 Elec�tion Manifes�to, the BJP warns that beca�use of Bangla�deshi in�filtration, "various demogra�phic entities are bound to come in conflict" due to "an alar�ming growth of a section of the populati�on"; already, "a section of the popu�lation has grown by almost 100 per cent" in certain northeastern are�as.��� Not wan�ting to sound anti-Mus�lim, the BJP avoids being expli�cit about the "co�mmun�al" angle.�
������ Even to the extent that the BJP does identify the problem as "i�llegal Banglad�eshi Muslims", it dooms itself to an unimaginative (and by now probably unrealis�tic) solution, viz. to physically push these people back across the border, and then build a her�metic fence around Banglad�esh.� However, the BJP state gov�ern�ment in Delhi, voted to power in 1993 on a plat�form promine�ntly includ�ing a crack�down on Ban�glade�shi "in�filtr�ators", has total�ly gone back on this prom�ise.� Few people seem to realize that the only democratic way to conduct this policy of allowing illegal immigration is to have Parliament pass a law declaring: "He�ncefo�rth, India gives up the right to control its borders and the access to its territory", a right which is one of the defining elements of sover�eignty.� Allowing illegal immigration to continue is an act of contempt for India's democratic laws and institutions.
������ Even a secularist paper has noticed the seriousness of the prob�lem: "The police say that Bangladeshis are behind most of the robberies, stabbings and other crimes being com�mitted in the capital.� Their area of operation includes posh localities in South Delhi where most of them work as domestic help.(...) Scarce job opportunities are thus being hijac�ked by these foreigners.� Pakistan claims to be a great friend of Bangla�desh, but it is unwilling to allow even one Bangladeshi to stay on.� In fact, Pakistan gunned down hundreds of Bangladeshis who were trying to sneak into its territory.� If this is how Pakistan is dealing with the situation, there is no need why we should be so generous.� As a first step, India's borders with Bangladesh should be effec�tively sealed.� As for those Bangladeshis who are already in the country, they should be identified and deported.� Otherwise, the whole country will be paying a very heavy price."
������ As against the reassuring view that Muslims can only outnumber Hindus in India in a matter of centuries, the evolution in the North-East suggests that the problem of a Muslim majority will take the form of the successive Unterwanderung ("to overwhelm by walking in") of designated parts of India within decades.� The demog�raphic evolu�tion is bound to create succes�sive Kash�mir-type situatio�ns, with local Muslim majorities in a (decreasingly) Hin�du-majority republic.