As Politics Over Immigrants Rises in West Bengal, NCRB Data Shows The State Does Have an Immigration Issue

Madhur Sharma
Nov 30, 2019 · 2 min read
Crimes committed by foreigners in India and West Bengal’s share (Graphic: Madhur Sharma)

As the Bhartiya Janta Party and Trinamool Congress spar over the issue of National Register of Citizens for West Bengal, and Amit Shah pledges a pan-India NRC, the latest data published by the National Crime Records Bureau has revealed that the state does have an immigrant problem.

The data reveals that out of all the criminal cases from across India in which foreigners were booked, West Bengal came first with a whopping share of 49%. Out of the total 1098 cases registered against foreigners in 2017 in the state, 1034 were for violation of the Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 — laws concerning entry, exit, and stay of foreign nationals in the country.

The data also reveals that a vast majority of those booked under these laws are largely Bangladeshi nationals, totalling at 2361, way more than any other nationality.

These numbers may become significant in the state’s political landscape in the days to come as both BJP and TMC have ratcheted political efforts to build narratives around immigration, with the Bhartiya Janta Party deciding on a mass campaign to bring awareness on illegal immigration in the state and to call for an Assam-like NRC in the state.

The Trinamool Congress has, meanwhile, staunchly opposed the NRC and party chief and the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said that NRC is not coming to the state, come what may. She recently got a resolution in the state legislative assembly passed for the same. The Left and the Congress also supported Mamata’s resolution.

As politicians peddle their narratives, the NCRB data makes one thing clear: West Bengal does have an immigration issue and it needs to be tackled, NRC or no NRC.

Madhur Sharma is a journalism student at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, and a history graduate from the Delhi University. He tweets @madhur_mrt.

The visualisation used in the story belongs to the author and may not be used anywhere.

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