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NRC scare may have forced thousands to return to Bangladesh News – India

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KOLKATA: The momentum of infiltration stopovers in Bangladesh in the last two months – around 450 since mid-November – is the tip of the iceberg. The actual number of Bangladeshis who have returned illegally to their homeland as a result of the NRC scare could be in thousands, indicate intelligence and other sources. A process of regular low key backs is also in, they said.

According to state intelligence sources, in recent weeks around 200 people have infiltrated Bangladesh every day through North 24 Parganas alone. People are crossing in large numbers across the porous border in the south 24 Parganas, too, and through Nadia, sources said. A Bangladeshi official said most of those arrested for illegally entering Bangladesh came from Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. Many of them carried Indian ration cards and Aadhaar cards, and some even had Indian voter ID cards, he added.

A North 24 Parganas, which is part of a racket that sends people without a passport to Bangladesh, told TOI that in the last two months they had sent about 5,000 people across the border, several times the usual number.

And the “fee” that ghatmaliks (touts) charge each dhur (client) has also increased. Until a couple of months ago, the charge for sending a person to Bangladesh was around 4,000 rs. “Then people began to come from Bengaluru. The load has now increased to 5,000 rs and, if the border is “bad” (if there is a strict vigil), 6,000 rs. But these days, the border is rarely bad,” he added.

The Bangladeshi administration has formed resistance committees involving border villagers to maintain wakefulness and prevent infiltration. Alamgir Hossain, a member of one of these committees in Bangladesh’s Jhinaidaha district, said: “We are on alert. We are doing everything we can to stop the infiltration.”

The Border Security Force would not officially comment on reverse migration. Sources, however, said Bangladeshis who remain illegally in India are being delayed. On 29 December, at a joint press conference of the BSF and the Bangladesh Border Guard, the Director-General of the BGB, Shafeenul Islam, said: “We regularly apprehend people crossing the border. These are the Bangladeshis who came to India inadvertently or for work.” In total, 446 people were arrested by the BGB since November, Islam said” But as they are originally from Bangladesh, the charges being made against them are very light so they can easily get bail,” one Bangladeshi official told TOI.

“They told us their horror stories, of being threatened and slapped, of midnight knocks on the doors by members of a particular political party. They claimed they don’t get help from the administration or the police,” the official said.

TOI tried to contact the high commissioner of Bangladesh on the issue, but there was no response.

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