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Illegal migrants in Mumbai

Monday August 27, 2012 02:19:15 PM, Danish Reyaz

Who are the actual illegal migrants in Mumbai? Are only 'Bangladeshis' troubling people in the state or ther are other many illegal immigrants too who are disturbing our day to day life in the city. Recently at Maharashtra Navnirman Sena rally at Azad Maidan, Party President Raj Thackeray's allegations on Bangladeshi immigrants have thrown a new salvo in political war of words between local political parties.

The issue can be discussed into proper perspective, if one visits Khar-Danda in Bandra fishermen locality or one walks on Carter Road. It would not be difficult to trace crowds of Nepalese and Tibetans thronging outside the park areas. If you will try to enter any Bar or Spa, you will be welcomed by Nepalese and Tibetan girls.


Syed Amber Fazal, resident of Khar-Danda locality says, “In these areas, a lot of illegal immigrants are from Nepal and Tibet. We call them “Gijjua”, most of them are working in Bars and Spas, and double as sex workers.”


Amber narrates an interesting story: "My neighbors are “Gujju” - two boys and two girls, and they are living in a single room. One day when I asked about their room partners, one of them told me that they have not too much idea what their room partners are doing in Mumbai and what kind of job they have. We are living together but no one knows about others", he added

Munaf Hakeem General Secretary Nationalist Congress Party and newly elected Chairman of Maharashtra Minority Commission says, “The issue of illegal immigrants in India is used only as a vote bank politics by communal parties and communal forces. Peoples from Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal are living in Mumbai and Maharashtra without any permission. Might be most of them had serious crime in Nepal, Bhutan & Myanmar and came to Mumbai, but the communal politicians never target these people because their majority vote banks will be affected.”

“In Maharashtra no one knows how many Bangladeshis are living? We have not enough records of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants. But every communal party is raising the issue over a long period of time?


"Why after a long time experience dealing with Bangladeshis, we cannot stop illegal migration from Bangladesh? In fact, the entire building boom will collapse, if these illegal immigrants are rounded off. The builder lobby in the city is too powerful for the state to touch their cheap labour force", Hakeem said.


Besides, the Maratha Manoos is too lazy to go any backbreaking job in construction industry, on which the current real estate boom is dependent. The state is making colossal revenue by greedily coming out with ingenious property taxes burdening the common people who can hardly afford housing in the city. This real estate boom and the tremendous increase in state and municipal revenue is partly due to continued availability of cheap illegal immigrant labour.

"And What about Bhutanese & Tibetans people. Are not those supposed to be disturbing our life in Mumbai? Why communal politicians have soft corner for these illegal immigrants", Hakeem asked.

The recent development when Baba Ramdev's trusted assistant, Acharya Balkrishna was hauled by by Congress government opposing Ramdev's anti-Congress movement, under the charge that he is an illegal immigrant and he is now incarcerated facing criminal charges.


The illegal immigrants are tolerated by the authorities as well as by the opposition parties, as long as they suit their political agenda. The moment these immigrants are required to be rounded up in a fake show of force by the police, combing operations and night raids are conducted that too for a limited period, till the hue and cry subsides.

"Many more like Acharya Balkirashna might be accommodated by political parties in India and when it suits their sloganeering, they start shouting against Bangladeshi", said Hakim.


Meanwhile, Mumbai and Maharashtra Samajwadi Party President Abu Asim Azmi gave the issue a totally new twist by challenging Raj Thackeray's claim that his election victories were due to bogus Bangladeshi voting. Azmi even write out a cheque for 2 Crores as a gift to Raj, if he can prove his within 2 months. Azmi also questioned Raj Thackeray's double standard over the issue. "If the Bangladeshis are staying in illegal capacity, why Raj Thackeray is not after Nepalese and Tibetans, who are staying in India", he asked.



The writer is a Mumbai based journalist. He can be reached at





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