Lost children

These children are barely aged 10-12 years. They are not of this nation, though. They are children of illegal migrants – the result of a lax, corrupt system that allowed them to cross the border in exchange for some money.

You may run into them in the busy streets of Guwahati. They roam the streets, and alleys with sacks loaded on their shoulders. Their eyes are constantly searching.

For something. For recyclable waste – beer bottles, cans, plastic toys, iron. Some of them have a long string wound around their fingers. The other end of the string has a magnet tied to it.

As they walk, they drag the magnet along the ground, to collect bits and pieces of iron, steel, and other magnetic materials.

You may see them rummaging through garbage bins on the street for recyclable waste. You may also see them holding a piece of cloth to their nose, as they walk.

That piece of cloth has “dendrite” smeared on it. It is an adhesive and you can buy it relatively cheap. These children inhale this adhesive as it gives them a sort of high.

Substance abuse.

But, nobody cares. The nexus that takes ‘care’ of them is only interested in the amount of waste they collect everyday. They want productivity.

When these children’s parents had crossed the Indo-Bangladesh border illegally, it was in search of a better livelihood.

The Indian Rupee is stronger than the Bangladeshi Taka.
Most of them found work as construction labourers, or carpenters. They had an edge over the indigenous workers because they were ready to work for lower wages.

The State Government too didn’t mind, as long as the vote bank was growing.
The Opposition political parties are very vocal in their clamour for eviction of illegal immigrants.

The indigenous people fear that they might become a ethnic and linguistic minority in their own state, if this rampant immigration persists.
Yes, they are right, and it won’t be very long before that happens.

This is because all that the State is concerned with is securing the vote bank for the next elections. They don’t care that the societal fabric is being destroyed by these foreigners.

Such a nexus exists very near my home. It is run by a lady; someone very influential. I regularly run into these children in the streets. They live in slums nearby.

I often see them returning to their homes very late at night with huge sacks of waste. I feel very sorry for these children.

It was not their choice to illegally cross over into a neighbouring country.

They are just the victims of a system. The future seems bleak. Drug-addiction, disease, crime – the oft repeated pattern, observed all over the world.

After all said and done, they are children, and you may reproach me for feeling sorry for illegal migrants.
But, the fact is that they are just children caught in the ceasefire – lost children.

This entry was posted in My take.

8 comments on “Lost children

  1. gita4elamats says:

    How could you be reproached for your compassion?

  2. The problem is of epidemic proportions here in Assam. There are some rural areas where locals fear to tread because they have been acquired by foreigners. It is a sensitive issue and there are emotions running high. Just didn’t want to come across as playing Devil’s advocate . . πŸ™‚

    • gita4elamats says:

      I think it is sad that people are threatened by refugees.
      It is a big problem in Australia with the government using people’s fears to get away with maltreatment of refugees! 😦

  3. I am not sufficiently informed to comment on the Australian migrant issue. But over here, one feels that the anger and animosity is understandable and justified. These people sneak in through the porous borders, and somehow manage to procure all documents to prove that they are Indian. It is an open secret. Locals feel threatened that someday they might become a minority in their own state. Helpless situation.

  4. Even worse, women and girls are trafficked and forced into prostitution. 😦
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_in_India

  5. Yes you’re right. Prostitution is usually the next thing these women find themselves in. Such an irony that they cross over to this side of the border hoping for a better life. So much for a better life!

  6. Beechmount says:

    The problem on this issue in the USA is illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America. The problem is HUGE, and there is a lot of resentment amongst Americans who themselves have forgotten where they came from. Everyone in the US were or are immigrants-legal or otherwise. Mexico suffers from low wages and overpopulation. America is a huge magnet for them to go and make some money and get ahead, but they risk deportation if they are caught. There is an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in America. Obama is currently trying to come up with a solution.
    Here in Canada, we get a certain amount of refuges every year,- most of them being economic refuges, but it is well controlled and no-one feel threatened anywhere.


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