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The Immigrant challenge: A visceral outlook

17 Feb. 2012 8:41 PM IST

The gruesome rape and assault of a young naga girl by five Bangladeshi immigrants, draws a deleterious picture of the rising unrest in Dimapur. The retribution, in such a case, must be swift without any sluggish legal procedures. The law must exact the most severe punishment in order to deter anyone else from committing such a decadent crime. Dimapur, truly, is on its way to becoming the ‘land of opportunity’, an epitome of a ‘global community’ and presents a ‘melting pot’ of culture, as professed by many nagas. Some even say that it is on the verge of becoming the fastest growing city in the North east. A closer look at the ‘fastest growing city’ indicates that a major chunk of the cake is being relished by non-locals. And a staggering portion of minimum wage labour and small market commodities are controlled by Bangladeshi immigrants. Nagaland has witnessed an unprecedented growth of illegal migrants over the past couple of years. Thanks to cheap railway fares, corrupt officials, sluggish law enforcement, inability of nagas to provide manual labour; illegal immigration in Nagaland is growing at a record speed. And if left unchecked, it could lead to disastrous results. Illegal immigration is indeed becoming a threat: Politically, Economically and socially and in challenging times like these, it is pertinent that we understand the ramifications of welcoming too many outsiders in our land. After the 1971 war of liberation in Bangladesh, the influx of refugees into the Indian borders increased manifold. According to 2001 census there are more than 3 million registered Bangladeshi immigrants in India. But undocumented reports in the media estimate a minimum of 20 million living illegally in India. The major migratory wave is being felt by the Northeastern part of India which mostly percolates from Assam via West Bengal. In Nagaland itself, there are thousands of Bangladeshis, doing manual labour even in the most remote part of Nagaland. This situation indeed presents an irony in itself, where high unemployment is conspicuous among the educated/ semi-educated youngsters. In major towns like Dimapur, a huge part of the labor pool is constituted by immigrants where minimum wages are strictly enforced by the local authorities. The problem with this is that, in the unforeseen future, once they completely control the labour pool, organize themselves as unions and garner political support (due to their staggering numbers), the local populace will give in to their demands for framing wages and providing work as they desire. In terms of security, a ‘free for all’ township like Dimapur provides a safe haven for runaway criminals, thieves, murderers, rapists, and crooks and anti socials. It also serves a breeding ground for illegal activities like bootlegging and prostitution. Another rising trend of negative ‘acculturation’ is that of settling down with the local women and manipulating facts so as to gain local status which in turn leads to inheritance and ownership of land. According to John Locke, the English philosopher, property is created when a person mixes his labour with the raw materials of nature. For instance when a person tills a piece of land (not legally entitled) mixed with his sweat and labour, and bears fruit because of it, then that person who put in his hard work can rightfully claim that land as his. In this way Locke justifies that America didn’t belong to the Red Indians but to the migrants from Europe and elsewhere because they were failing to utilize the basic material of nature i.e. Land. This is a frightening revelation, because all our labour is being provided by outsiders, and this is the core basis of my write up which many fail to understand. So I hope our people wake up and make the best of our land. Most Naga entrepreneurs will say that this is impossible because of the menace of relentless taxing by uncountable underground groups. But I say, how come non-nagas are setting up new business despite all these taxes and that too with so much resilience?? Think about it….

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Shanben Kithan
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