Intelligence agencies have recommended increasing the range of Border Security Forces (BSF) to 100 km, due to the unexpected demographic change in border areas. According to reports, the Muslim population in the border areas has increased by around 32%, well above the national average.
Based on the latest Gram Panchayats records, the Uttar Pradesh and Assam Police have sent separate reports to the Union Home Ministry outlining the demographic changes over the past ten years in the border areas of Nepal and Bangladesh.
According to reports, the Muslim population in the border districts has increased by about 32% since 2011. On the contrary, the population change across the country is between 10% and 15%. Security agencies and state police described the demographic change as highly sensitive in the context of national security. Therefore, Assam and UP recommended that the scope of jurisdiction of BSF be increased from the current 50 KM to 100 KM. If this happens, BSF will have the right to search and investigate in areas up to 100 KM from the international border.
It’s not just about population growth
Dainik Bhaskar quoted an unnamed Union Home Ministry official as saying that demographic change is not just about population increase. It could be a new conception of infiltration in India. “Therefore, keeping national security in mind, we must now make strong preparations. That is why Assam and UP security agencies have suggested increasing the scope of the BSF,” did he declare.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Interior increased the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 KM to 50 KM in October 2021. While some states opposed the increase from 15 KM to 50 KM, the UP and the ‘Assam recommended further increases.
Mosque-madrasas increased by 25% in 5 districts of UP
According to UP Police, the Muslim population has increased by more than 20% since 2011 in five districts which are Pilibhit, Kheri, Balrampur, Maharajganj and Bahraich. All these districts share borders with Nepal.
One of the biggest challenges facing the state police is determining how many new Muslim families who have settled in the area have valid documents and how many are illegal. Security agencies suspect many of these people may be illegal immigrants. There are about 1,000 villages in 5 border districts of UP. Of these, 116 have more than 50% Muslim population. About 303 villages have a Muslim population 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. According to reports, compared to 1,349 mosques and madrasas in border districts in 2018, the number stands at 1,688.
According to the police report, infiltration has been active in the border areas for a long time. Most people who come from outside are Muslims. In Assam, the Muslim population has increased by around 32% in the districts of Dhuvari, Karimganj, South Salmara and Cachar. These districts share borders with Bangladesh.
Unexpected increases in the Muslim population have been reported before
This is not the first time such reports have made headlines. In March 2022, OpIndia reported that the sudden increase in Muslim population in border districts of West Bengal has forced Hindus to migrate.
A journalist from Organizer magazine named Pranay Kumar visited few cities like New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri, Islampur, Malda Town, Murshidabad etc. Villages and towns were located next to them, where he noticed a terrible demographic imbalance in these villages. Many Rohingya immigrants from Bangladesh have come to settle in these areas. This unprecedented increase in the Muslim population in specific areas of the border state of Bangladesh has forced many Hindus to migrate from these areas.
In most villages and small towns, Muslims outnumber non-Muslims. There are also large numbers of suspected Rohingya from the country bordering Bangladesh, who are deliberately pushed into villages for vote banks, although the Center identifies them as a security threat. Due to their abundance, local Hindus migrate to other cities or safer places. They flee because of organized and sponsored violence. They are terrified of the spread of violence, the journalist said.
As a result, Hindu migrants are selling their homes, farms, businesses and other assets.
In December 2021, following the notification of an increase in the jurisdiction of BSF from 15 KM to 50 KM, the DG BSF explained the reasons. BSF chief executive Pankaj Kumar Singh said a greater degree of demographic imbalance in bordering states was a key reason for the Centre’s decision.
The CEO of BSF said that over time the demographic balance in border states like West Bengal and Assam has been upset. He said a survey by the BSF confirmed the demographic changes. He said it was one of the probable reasons for 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 India was facing large-scale infiltration. Whether in Assam or West Bengal, the demographic balance has been upset to a large extent, he said.
A similar demographic shift has also been reported in Uttarakhand and Gujarat. In 2018, BSF warned of demographic changes in the border areas of Rajasthan.