The atmosphere of Kishanganj town of Bihar was full of patriotic fervour on December 17 when the entire region reverberated with the slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram shouted by ABVP activists. Carrying tricolours and saffron flags, over 50,000 students warned the government against providing shelter to the Bangladeshi infiltrators and appealed to the government to take concrete steps to deport them. They demanded fencing of the entire Indo-Bangladesh border with electric supply, wide powers to BSF and cleansing of all the mosques and madrasas illegally came up in large number along the international border.
The students, including over 3000 girls, carrying tricolours, pictures of Bharat Mata and Swami Vivekananda, had started gathering in the town on December 16 from across the length and breadth of the country including the Andamans, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, etc. The youth from the north-eastern states came in good number. Majority of the students were from Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and West Bengal. The students were so energetic that a group of 300 youth reached Kishanganj in the form of a bicycle rally covering a long distance in two days and educating the local people about the problem of infiltration.
Over 700 Vanvasi archers from Bihar came with their traditional bows for security of the rally. Besides all ABVP leaders, RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sah-Bauddhik Pramukh Shri Dattatreya Hosbale, Akhil Bharatiya Sahpracharak Pramukh Shrikrishna Motalag, RSS national executive member Shri Indresh Kumar, BJP Yuva Morcha president Shri Amit Thakar, Shri Atul Kothari and Shri Bal Apte were also present at the rally.
Before the formal beginning of the rally, the students took out three processions from different parts of Kishanganj town. Shouting slogans like Bangladeshi Bharat chhoro, Chhatrashakti ki hai lalkar, ghuspaithiye bhejo seema paar, Janmanas ab badala hai, ghuspaith nahin yeh hamala hai, save eastern Bharat today?save entire Bharat tomorrow; the processions converged at the Ruidhasha Grounds at 11 am. At the same time, the ABVP activists who could not reach Kishanganj that day staged dharnas and demonstrations at all district headquarters all over the country. The students who had stuck at railway stations, mostly at Howrah, Allahabad and Patna, due to delay in trains staged dharna at the stations themselves.
The students also formed a human chain at Kishanganj-Dinajpur road in Kishanganj on December 16. This road provides connectivity to the Indo-Bangladesh international border and it derives its name from Dinajpur district in Bangladesh. Before the Partition in 1947, it was a good link between Kishanganj and Dinajpur. Down the years and after the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971 this very route has been found to be the conduit for trans-border crimes and infiltration.
The students appeared in the mood of giving a clear message to the government. They pledged at the rally to continue the agitation in their respective regions till the government deports all the infiltrators. ?Our agitation is not against Indian Muslims. We just want the Bangladeshi infiltrators to be deported without wasting any time since their activities are anti-India. We feel the infiltration is an invasion on India and keeping in view the involvement of the infiltrators in terrorist activities the government must handle it accordingly. They have created a severe demographic imbalance in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand and some of the districts of these states have become Muslim dominated,? said Tikku Burman, a BA final year student of Guwahati.
The population of Kishanganj district is about 14 lakh and 76 per cent of them are Muslims. But the number of Indian Muslims among them is hardly 30 per cent. The infiltrators, known as ?Bhatiya? here are more militant and violent than the Indian Muslims who are known as ?Surjapuri?. The infiltrators have grabbed not only the agricultural land of the local people but also their residential properties, business and employment opportunities. Not to speak of Hindus, the dignity and women-folk of even Indian Muslims are not safe here. Women are kidnapped in broad daylight. ?Since the day Bangladeshis have become majority here we have completely become insecure. We have to be vigilant even while sleeping. We have no other option but to migrate from this place to save our honour and earn bread for our children,? said Mohammad Afzal, who runs a shop in Kishanganj for the last 50 years.
If local Indian Muslims feel so insecure here the condition of local Hindus can be imagined easily. ?The situation has deteriorated to the extent that the day is not far-off when we too would have no other option but to leave this place like the Kashmiri Hindus who migrated from Kashmir Valley,? said Rupam Shah, a shopkeeper near Kishanganj Club. The situation in rural areas is said to have assumed an alarming proportion.
The objective of the rally was not just to raise a voice against Bangladeshi infiltration but also to boost the morale of the local Hindus and Muslims who are facing the brutalities of infiltrators everyday. ?Apart from sensitising the government about the menace of infiltration, we are in Chicken Neck today to extend support to the local Hindus and Muslims who are the worst victims of this problem. We have told them that the entire country is with them in their fight to save the land of their ancestors,? said Shri Milind Marathe, national vice president of ABVP.
The 30-km-long stretch between Kishanganj in Bihar and Islampur in the adjacent West Bengal is known as Chicken Neck. It is strategically an important region that connects the north-eastern states with the rest of the country. It is a narrow area with an average width of 21-40 km. It is also called Siliguri Corridor. The boundaries of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China are very near from here. The recent reports confirmed the presence of over 50 lakh Bangladeshi infiltrators in Assam alone and they have encroached 90 per cent of the area nearby this Chicken Neck. Both Bangladesh and China have their eyes on this region for a long time. Smugglers too want to convert it into a paradise for various smuggling activities.
Before organising this rally, the ABVP had conducted a nationwide awareness drive beginning in August. From August 7 to 14 an Anti-Infiltration Week was observed at 915 places, 2135 colleges and 1896 memorandums were presented to the local authorities for Prime Minister. Sankalp Diwas was observed at 653 places on August 14. Rallies and demonstrations were held at 139 districts. Colleges all over the country remained closed on November 12 at 2965 places. Apart from it, various seminars, discussions and round table conferences were held to educate different sections of the society.
ABVP has been fighting against the problem of infiltration since 1979 when it extended support to Assam Movement to drive out the foreigners. It also organised huge strike in front of the Parliament House on this issue. Its national meet organised in New Delhi on January 4, 1981 discussed the issue in detail. On October 2, 1983, thousands of ABVP activists participated in satyagraha movement in Guwahati and the activists faced unprecedented police brutalities. Besides conducting various activities in previous years the largest student organisation conducted a detail study of the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, Assam and Tripura and visited 1074-km border in 2007. The study report was presented to the then President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Home Minister Shivraj Patil.
Addressing the massive gathering of students, the ABVP national president Dr Ram Naresh Singh said the agitation was a warning to the power-hungry politicians who are silent on this threat just for some votes. He demanded the constitution of an independent Task Force to detect and deport the infiltrators and also the constitution of fast track courts in all the states to hear the cases related to infiltrators. He also stressed the need for enactment of a stern law to punish the people who provide shelter to the infiltrators. About the Chicken Neck, he said the area should be freed from illegal constructions, be declared special protection zone and also be handed over to the army for further security.
ABVP organising secretary Sunil Ambekar said through the nationwide movement the ABVP would aware the people and awake the central government about the gravity of the situation and continue its efforts to deport all the Bangladeshi infiltrators from Indian soil. ABVP general secretary Sunil Bhatt said the problem of infiltration is not a tsunami that struck suddenly but it is there for the last three decades. Convener of the rally Sunil Bansal said the general public must question the political leaders as to why they are silent on this sensitive issue related to security of the nation. Later, under the leadership of ABVP national president Dr Ram Naresh Singh, a delegation met the local District Magistrate Feraque Ahmed and handed him over a memorandum for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
The ABVP rally definitely stormed the Kishanganj town for two days but the attitude of the local administration remained unchanged. When the ABVP delegation met the District Magistrate he said there is not a single Bangladeshi infiltrator in Kishanganj. The local SP M.R. Naik too said the district administration has no figure on illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators in the district. This is basically the same approach that has been adopted by the power-hungry politicians in the country. As long as the local administration remains a friend of the infiltrators it is difficult to deport even a single infiltrator from the country.