India will expel all illegal migrants: Amit Shah
NEW DELHI, July 17: India will identify and deport illegal immigrants from across the country, the interior minister said on Wednesday, stepping up a campaign that critics say could stoke religious tension and further alienate minority Muslims.
An exercise to identify alien immigrants from Muslim-majority Bangladesh has been going on in the northeastern state of Assam for years, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government has taken it up in earnest.
The campaign was a key issue in this year's general election, won by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist party.
Home Minister Amit Shah told parliament the government would not limit its efforts to Assam, but would come down hard on illegal immigrants anywhere.
"Illegal immigrants living on every inch of this country will be deported according to the law," Shah told the upper house of parliament.
Shah, seen as a Hindu nationalist hardliner and a possible future replacement for Modi in the top job, called illegal migrants "termites" eating into Assam's resources during the election campaign.
Critics accuse Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of a deep-seated bias against minority Muslims and say the campaign against illegal migrants is aimed at Muslims, and threatens to further marginalise the community.
The BJP denies the accusation and says it is opposed to the appeasement of any group. -Reuters