Rajat Sharma

Is there a foreign hand behind sharp rise of Muslims in UP, Assam border districts?

akbToday I want to point out to a disturbing trend in seven districts of Uttar Pradesh bordering Nepal and four districts of Assam bordering Bangladesh. According to sensitive reports sent by UP and Assam Police to the Union Home Ministry, updated two days ago, the findings are surprising. The demographic change in these border districts is worrisome.

According to UP police, in seven border districts, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Shravasti, Siddharth Nagar, Maharajganj, Balrampur and Bahraich, Muslim population rose by 32 per cent during the last ten years. The number of mosques and madrasas in these districts has also increased. Statistics from more than 1,000 villages in these districts have been collated in the ground report. In 116 villages of these seven districts, Muslim population rose by more than 50 per cent, while there are 303 villages close to the border, where Muslim population rose by more than 30 per cent in the last 10 years. The number of mosques in these districts has increased by nearly 25 per cent.

In Assam, the four districts of Dhubri, Karimganj, South Salmara and Cachar adjoining Bangladesh have noted a 30 per cent rise in Muslim population during the last 10 years. In several border districts of Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, close to Pakistan and China respectively, the numbers of mosques and madrasas have been seen a sharp rise.

Security agencies deployed on international border point out to foreign hands behind this sudden rise in Muslim population and have alerted the Centre. Both UP and Assam police have said that it could be due to a rise in infiltration in these border districts. At a time when the average rise in population throughout India has been between 10 to 15 per cent, the 32 per cent rise in Muslim population in these border districts is worrying.

UP police, in its report, has expressed apprehensions that Muslims from outside have been brought to these seven border districts to settle down. The report says, there are 1,047 villages close to Nepal border, out of which in 116 villages, Muslim population rose by up to 50 per cent in the last 10 years. There are 303 villages where Muslim population rose by 30 to 50 pc. The report says, in the last four years, there has been 25 per cent rise in the number of mosques and madrasas in these districts. The number of mosques and madrasas was earlier 1,349, but it is now 1,688.

UP police is facing a peculiar problem in checking each individual’s identity papers, and tallying them with the original panchayat records. The problem relates to checking the veracity of identity documents. Police officials suspect that many of the Muslims were brought from outside to settle in these border districts.

Hindu sadhus and mahants who visit these border districts have confirmed that there has been a sharp rise in the number of Muslims settled in the districts bordering Nepal. There are mosques and madrasas in almost every border village. They have appealed to the Centre to check whether these Muslims are Rohingyas or Bangladeshi infiltrators.

According to a paper submitted by Assam Police at the annual meeting of state police chiefs, there has been a 30 per cent jump in Muslim population in districts within a 10 km radius of Assam-Bangladesh border, whereas the national average increase in population is 12.5 pc, and that of the state is 13.5 pc.

In other words, Muslim population in Assam districts bordering Bangladesh has increased by more than two and a half times the national average. Four districts are mainly affected. They are: Dhubri, Karimganj, Cachar and South Salmara. In 2011, the Muslim population in these districts was 3,95,659 and this jumped to 5,13,126 in 2021. Assam Police officials believe that infiltration of Muslims from Bangladesh into Assam continues.

A strange factor was mentioned in the report by Assam Police. In one village, there were only five Muslim families, but there were four mosques in that village. When the villagers were asked about this, they had no logical answer as to who paid for building these mosques. In the last one month, 18 Bangladeshi infiltrators were apprehended. There are reports of gangs procuring false documents for these infiltrators.

Rajasthan is another state where similar change in demography has been noticed. The Border Security Force in a report to the Home Ministry, has said that while the population of people belonging to other religions rose by 8 to 10 percent, Muslim population in border districts increased up to 25 per cent in border villages. Similarly, the number of madrasas has also increased.

The BSF report said, in the border areas like Pokharan, Mohangarh and Jaisalmer, Islamic clerics, who clearly seem to be outsiders, have been found teaching Muslim children in madrasas. The state BJP youth wing chief and MP from Chittorgarh, Chandra Prakash Joshi alleged that the Congress government in Rajasthan was following an appeasement policy towards minorities.

In Uttarakhand, a state created 22 years ago, there has been a quick rise in Muslim population in districts adjoining Nepal. The rise has been almost two and a half times compared to the number ten years back. Recently there were reports of Rohingya Muslims settling in some areas and setting up ‘mazaars’ (graves) in the forests of Uttarakhand. The state government has directed that these graves must be removed from forest land and Rohingya Muslims must be deported.

Concerns were raised both by Assam and UP police in their reports during the conference of directors-general of police in November last year, which was presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. UP Police had given a detailed report about demographic change in border districts. This report was updated two days ago. In the report, the state police highlighted how in the past, there used to be mixed population of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in border villages, but now, the Muslim population has increased sharply.

If reports of influx of Muslims from Bangladesh and Pakistan are true, it is a matter of serious concern. Pakistan and China are conspiring to create disturbance in our border districts by settling Muslims in the villages. The Centre, in coordination with BSF and the state police, must immediately act and nip the conspiracy in the bud.

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