Indian border guards intercepted 1700 migrants trying to go back to Bangladesh illegally in 2017.
In 2018, the number of such people intercepted rose to 2800.
The statistics for 2019 is not immediately available but Home Ministry officials say the numbers will be much more in the year just gone by.
For every interception, many more would have got away.
The statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) surely suggest a growing reverse migration from India to Bangladesh, especially of Muslim migrants.
That has been borne out recently by a statement from Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) chief Maj Gen Shafeenul Islam.
Maj Gen Islam told a press conference recently that 445 Bangladeshi nationals returned from India in last two months following the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) by the Indian government.
“About 1,000 people were arrested in 2019 for illegal border crossings from India to Bangladesh, with 445 of them returning home in November and December,” Islam told media persons.
After verifying their identities through local representatives, BGB came to know that all the intruders are Bangladeshis, he added.
Islam visited India where he said that the creation of the NRC is completely an ‘internal affair’ of India and the cooperation between the border guarding forces of the two countries is very good.
He said the BGB will continue to do its work of preventing illegal border crossings as per its mandate.
A BGB delegation, led by Islam, was on a bilateral visit to India to hold DG-level border talks with its counterparts, the Border Security Force (BSF).
The talks took place from December 26-29, during which a host of issues related to cross-border smuggling and activities of criminals and others along the 4,096-km-long front were discussed.
The BGB’s admission has come as shot in the arm for BJP leaders who feel vindicated in their allegations of large scale migration from Bangladesh in the years after it was born in 1971.
The fear factor over the NRC and repeated announcements by Home Minister Amit Shah that the NRC will happen across India has scared illegal migrants who entered India after 1971, especially in 1980-90s when Bangladesh’s economy was in doldrums.
Bangladesh’s rapid economic progress, its growing legal export of labour to advanced countries and the growing fear of detection in India, especially in states ruled by BJP is generating this reverse migration.
Post 1971 migrants from Bangladesh are going back to the home country because they can migrate from there to other countries where labour wages are high and labour is welcome because of lack of local availability.