Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Killing Fields of Assam: The Myth and Reality of Its Muslim Immigration

Borooah, Vani (2012): The Killing Fields of Assam: The Myth and Reality of Its Muslim Immigration. Published in: Economic and Political Weekly , Vol. 48, No. 4 (January 2013): pp. 43-52.

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The Indian state of Assam has been in turmoil since the 1970s over the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh. This has, frequently, manifest itself in attacks on its Bengali-speaking Muslims who are accused of taking advantage of the porous, 267 kilometres long, border between Assam and Bangladesh to enter the state and occupy land belonging to the native population. Moreover, through a rapid increase in their numbers, they are viewed as diluting and debasing traditional Assamese Hindu culture through the instrument of a foreign language (Bengali) and an alien religion (Islam). However, the issue of immigration into Assam raises several questions. First, what is the scale of the problem? Then, what is the division of immigrants between Hindu and Muslim? Lastly, how many illegal migrants are there in the state? This paper attempts to answer these questions by applying community-specific reproduction rates to the Muslim and non-Muslim parts of Assam’s population and then comparing the derived numbers with the actual number of Muslims and non-Muslims in the state. It then evaluates the contribution of Assam’s immigrants to its polity and its economy.

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