Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya of the BJP has demanded that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) be extended to Karnataka as well as the rest of the country. The first-time MP was speaking during the Zero Hour of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Tejasvi claimed that there is a “security and internal security threat due to the influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into the state (Karnataka) and city (Bengaluru).”
“The state government last year as well as the Honourable Chief Minister had said that there are more than 40,000 illegal Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants in the state of Karnataka who have now taken up jobs illegally, procured Aadhaar cards, voter identity cards with the help of state government and authorities. They are now posing a very important security threat to the state,” he said in the Lok Sabha.
Tejasvi appears to be quoting the figure from a 2015 letter written by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who was then in the opposition, to then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. In that letter, Kumaraswamy had stated that there were 40,000 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in the state.
However, in late 2016, the then Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara, in response to a question, said that 283 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants were in the state. The number of illegal Bangaladeshi immigrants in Karnataka has never been clear, with the figures varying widely. On July 2, responding to a question by Bangalore Central MP PC Mohan, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said that there was no accurate data on illegal immigrants living in the country. “As per information received from the State Government of Karnataka, 143 cases have been registered against illegal Bangladeshi nationals in Karnataka and 114 illegal Bangladeshi nationals have been deported from Karnataka,” his response stated.
Terming the illegal immigrants a “security threat” as well as an “economic threat”, Tejasvi Surya said that NRC must be extended to Karnataka “to weed out these Bangladeshis”. He added that they are trying to “change the demography of Karnataka”, and taking away jobs that would be for the locals.
“A sovereign state must protect the integrity of its orders and must protect the interests of all its citizens by sending out and deporting illegal immigrants,” he added.
Tejasvi Surya’s demand for extending NRC to the state comes at a time when Karnataka is at an advanced stage of setting up a detention centre for illegal immigrants. The facility aims to detain foreigners staying back without proper documentation. ADGP (Law and Order) Kamal Pant earlier told that only one detention facility would be set up in Karnataka, which is being established in Bengaluru Rural district’s Nelamangala taluk.
At present, NRC is only being implemented in Assam. The draft NRC in the state was published on July 30, 2018, in which the names of 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore people were included. However, the names of 40,70,707 people were found missing from the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 were on hold. July 31 is the deadline for publication of the final Assam NRC.
Independent experts of the United Nations have expressed concern over the millions of people who would be left stateless, especially minorities.