Intelligence agencies have recommended increasing the range of Border Security Forces (BSF) to 100 KM, owning to the unexpected demographic change in the border areas. As per reports, the Muslim population in border areas has increased by approx 32 per cent, significantly above the national average.
Based on the latest records of Gram Panchayats, the Police of Uttar Pradesh and Assam have sent separate reports to the Union Home Ministry depicting the change in demographics in the last ten years in the border areas of Nepal and Bangladesh.
As per the reports, the population of Muslims in border districts has increased by approx 32% since 2011. On the contrary, the population change across the country has been somewhere between 10% and 15%. Security agencies and state police have described the demographic change as very sensitive in the context of national security. Hence, both Assam and UP have recommended that the scope of the jurisdiction of BSF should be increased from the present 50 KM to 100 KM. If it happens, BSF will have the right to search and investigate areas up to 100 KM from the international border.
It is not just about the increase in population
Dainik Bhaskar quoted an unnamed official from the Union Home Ministry saying that the change in demographic is not just about the increase in population. It could be a new design of infiltration in India. “Therefore, keeping national security in mind, have to make strong preparations from now on. That is why the security agencies of Assam and UP have suggested increasing the scope of BSF,” he said.
It is noteworthy that the Home Ministry increased the BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 KM to 50 KM in October 2021. While some states have objected to the increase from 15 KM to 50 KM, UP and Assam have recommended further increases.
Mosque-madrasas increased by 25 per cent in 5 districts in UP
As per UP Police, the population of Muslims has increased by more than 20% since 2011 in five districts that are Pilibhit, Kheri, Balrampur, Maharajganj and Bahraich. All these districts share borders with Nepal.
One of the biggest challenges that the state Police are facing is determining how many new Muslim families who have settled in the area have valid documents and how many are illegal. Security agencies suspect that many of these people may be illegal immigrants. There are around 1,000 villages in 5 border districts of UP. Out of these, 116 have more than 50% Muslim population. Around 303 villages have a Muslim population anywhere between 30% and 50%.
Not only the number of Muslims but the number of mosques and madrasas have also increased in these districts by at least 25% from April 2018 to March 2022. As per reports, compared to 1,349 mosques and madrasas in the border districts in 2018, the number stands at 1,688.
According to the Police report, the infiltration has been active in the border areas for a long time. Most of the people who come from outside are Muslims. In Assam, the Muslim population has increased by approx 32 per cent in Dhuvari, Karimganj, South Salmara and Cachar districts. These districts share borders with Bangladesh.
Unexpected increases in the Muslim population have been reported before
This is not the first time such reports are making ways to headlines. In March 2022, OpIndia reported that the sudden increase in the Muslim population in border districts in West Bengal had forced Hindus to migrate.
A journalist with the Organiser magazine named Pranay Kumar visited a few cities like New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri, Islampur, Malda Town, Murshidabad etc. Villages and towns were situated adjacent to them, where he noticed a terrible imbalance in the demographics in these villages. Many Rohingya immigrants from Bangladesh have come and settled in these areas. This unprecedented increase in the Muslim population in specific areas of the state bordering Bangladesh has forced many Hindus to migrate from these regions.
In most villages and small towns, Muslims outnumber non-Muslims. There are also a large number of suspected Rohingyas from the bordering country of Bangladesh, who are being deliberately pushed into the villages for vote banks, despite the Centre identifying them as a security threat. As a result of their abundance, local Hindus migrate to other cities or safer locations. They flee as a result of organised and sponsored violence. They are terrified by the spread of violence, said the journalist.
As a result, Hindu migrants are selling their homes, farms, businesses, and other assets.
In December 2021, following the notification of an increase in BSF jurisdiction from 15 KM to 50 KM, BSF DG explained the reasons. The Director-General of BSF, Pankaj Kumar Singh, said that a greater degree of demographic imbalance in the bordering states was one of the key reasons behind the Centre’s decision.
BSF DG said that over a period of time, the demographic balance in border states like West Bengal and Assam has been upset. He said a survey done by the BSF had confirmed demographic changes. He said that it was one of the probable reasons behind the Narendra Modi government extending the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to 50 km in Punjab, Assam and West Bengal. The DG said that India has been facing infiltration on a large scale. Be it Assam or West Bengal, the demographic balance has been upset to a great degree, he said.