A terrorist of Pakistan origin struck at London and killed two people, while injuring three on Friday (November 29). The London Bridge attacker was not unknown to the police and had been sentenced in 2012 on terrorism charges.

After spending his late teens in Pakistan, he left school. On his return to the United Kingdom, he started preaching radical Islam on the internet. This brings us to the larger issue with regard to the immigrants.

India has been fighting its own battle with illegal immigration and what is worse is that there has been severe opposition to it. Looking at some of the cases that have taken place both in the United States and United Kingdom, it clearly suggests that in the interest of national security, immigration laws have to be tight.

The trouble with immigrants

Data shows that foreign born terrorists who entered the United States either as immigrants or tourists since 1975 were responsible for 3,024 out of the 3,432 killings that had been caused.

US President Donald Trump has been rightly raising this issue since he came to power and has met with opposition for his views, just as is the case in India.

In 2017, there was outrage against the migrant policy in the UK. Several anti-immigration politicians in Europe linked the attacks in London to the migrant policy. They underlined the importance of countries protecting the borders and enhancing security.

This campaign group accused Teresa May of failing to implement the British people’s desire to have a secure border. This had witnessed high levels of immigration.

In 2018, a Sudanese immigrant was accused of trying to kill pedestrians at Parliament Square. He hailed from a Midlands suburb which is considered to be a terror hotspot. The terrorist, Salih Khater, a British national had moved to the UK from Sudan in 2013 and lived in a flat at South Birmingham. It had been reported that one in 10 convicted Islamic terrorists from the area of Birmingham.

The Parsons Green Tube bomber, Ahmed Hassan had said that he had cooked up a story about being kidnapped by the Islamic State so that he could claim asylum in Britain. On his arrival from Iraq in Britain, he had told immigration officials that he had been forced to train to kill by the ISIS. However later he said that he was never taken to prison by the ISIS and did not have any contact with the terror group.

In the aftermath of the Paris attack, the police had found a Syrian passport near the body of one of the attackers. Poland in a statement said that it could have no part in the EU’s new compulsory quotas system for sharing refugees.

In the year 2017, the Department of Homeland Security had said that an average of 10 individuals a day who appear on the terrorist watch list were prevented from entering the United States by land, sea or air. In 2016, Trump had delivered a speech on immigration, terrorism and national security after Omar Mateen killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Mateen was born in New York after his parents left Afghanistan for the United States.

Trump had also noted that the Boston Marathon bombers had received asylum in the United States. And who can forget the 9/11 attack that claimed nearly 3,000 lives. The terrorists were all Middle Eastern nationals and most of them were on a tourist visa.

India’s problem with immigrants

There is always a hue and cry when the government and our security forces raise a concern about illegal immigrants. There is no doubt that the illegal immigrants especially those from Bangladesh are ticking time bombs. Since 2014, when Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister the primary focus has been to tackle this problem.

The trouble however is that there is an opposition each time the government tries to tackle this problem. The government is questioned each time it raises the issues of the Rohingya Muslims, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh or speaks about the need for a nation-wide NRC.

There are many who ask why the government is trying to link terrorism and immigration. However, there are not one but plenty of instances to show that the illegal immigrants are ticking time bombs.

While speaking about illegal immigrants, the government says that there has been a huge change in the cultural and linguistic identity of some areas due to illegal immigration. This has resulted in an adverse impact on the livelihood of the local people. Recently Union home minister Amit Shah had said that a nationwide NRC would be carried out and one of the first to oppose this was West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

When the influx of Rohingya Muslims took place in India, there were petitions filed in the Supreme Court seeking to protect them. However, what these people need to understand is that the Rohingya Muslims are easily picked up by terrorist groups. Home ministry officials tell MyNation that this is an issue that has been taken very seriously.

In August 2018, three members of a Rohingya family were picked up for questioning after Rs 30 lakh in cash was recovered from them. They were picked up from the Channi Himmat area in Jammu and a further probe revealed that they were holding the cash for two persons Ismail and Noor Alam who had fled to Bangladesh. The family had orders to pass on the money to a terror group.

An Intelligence Bureau dossier says that the Rohingyas are tapped by groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. Further the dossier speaks about the Difa-e-Musalman-e-Arakan conference in Pakistan hosted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba. It was during this conference that Hafiz Saeed tasked two of his men Shahid Mahmood and Nadeem Awan to tap the Rohingyas at the Jammu camp and rope them in for terror activities.

The spread

The issue today is that the problem of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh is not restricted to just a few states along the border areas. It has spread across the country and the most worrisome scenario is in the South of India.

It appears as though the ploy by Bangladesh and the ISI launched in the 1970s worked to a large extent. Both Pakistan and Bangladesh had launched this devious plan and had said that the districts adjacent to East Pakistan must be targeted. In his book ‘Eastern Pakistan’ the Bangladeshi leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman had said, “Because Eastern Pakistan must have sufficient land for its expansion and because Assam has abundant forests and mineral resources, coal, petroleum, etc., Eastern Pakistan must include Assam to be financially and economically strong.”

These statements made it clear that there was a clear pattern in launching illegal immigrants into India. The intent was to destabilise India in terms of its economy and also create a rift within the local population as the illegal immigrants would clearly rob them of their livelihood. Both the ISI and Bangladesh’s DGFI were well aware of the fact that these illegal immigrants would indulge in criminal activity. Today they are active in terror groups and are notorious for smuggling drugs and circulating fake currency.

The NIA’s headache

India’s premier terror investigating agency, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) clearly has its hands full. Officials of the agency have been travelling across the country to join the dots in a terror related investigation clearly connecting the JMB and the illegal immigrants.

The JMB which is the primary outfit that ropes in the illegal immigrants has spread its tentacles in states such as Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Bihar. They are using the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, NIA chief YC Modi told a conference of chiefs of the Anti Terrorist Squads and Special Task Force held last month.

NIA officials say that the main challenge for the state agencies is the JMB which is the primary facilitator of the illegal immigrants.

During its probe, the NIA also learnt that the JMB had set up 22 hideouts in Bengaluru in a bid to spread its base in Southern India. Apart from roping in the Bangladeshis in India, the JMB along with the Lashkar-e-Taiba had set in motion a plan to rope in the Rohingya Muslims as well. In a bid to do so, the JMB carried out attacks on the Bodhgaya temples. The JMB had planned several attacks on the Buddhist Temples to take revenge for the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the NIA had learnt.

Former Special Secretary, Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan said that an illegal immigrant has no loyalty to the country.
If you deny him the rights, he will do illegal things. On the other hand an Indian citizen would be scared to do illegal things and would think a 100 times. We have been following this issue since 1984 and could foresee what was coming. We knew that one day it would have an effect on the demographics, the elections, electoral rolls. Not just India, countries such as Britain and the rest of the world must treat this problem very seriously, Bhushan also adds.