The Union government has issued an alert on the illegal stay of Bangladeshi nationals in India.
Directors General of Police of States/Union Territories have been told to take appropriate action on the illegal immigrants who sneaked into the country along the Bangladesh border in West Bengal and settled across the country, police sources said on Sunday.
Security agencies were informed of a well-connected network of local people and agents in West Bengal that was facilitating the foreign nationals to gain entry, obtain original documents with the help of fake addresses, identities etc.
The illegal immigrants who initially obtained Aadhaar cards moved to different parts of the country to get employment and settled there. Some managed to get other proof of address or identity such as bank passbook, voter identity card and PAN card, the sources said.
“These documents help them establish a fake identity in a given address and get employment. Many are using them to get passports to travel abroad. Since the documents, including the passport, are issued by the competent authority, the accused persons travel without being suspected or caught,” a senior police official told The Hindu.
The Centre’s alert said some locals in West Bengal were acting as agents by providing fraudulently obtained Indian identity documents, particularly Aadhaar cards, for a fee.
The foreigners posing as Indian nationals used the documents for various purposes across India, the official quoted the advisory as saying and added that the accused foreign nationals were settled in several States, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Days after the alert was issued, the Ministry of Home Affairs empowered the District Collectors of Mehsana and Anand in Gujarat to grant citizenship certificates to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, Buddhist and Jain communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
T.N. Police drive
A couple of years ago, the Tamil Nadu Police launched a drive against Bangladeshi nationals who had settled in various districts posing as natives of West Bengal and got employment in the construction, hospitality and textile industries. Some were arrested under the provisions of the Foreigners Act and lodged in prisons. A majority of such suspects were settled in Tirupur, Chengalpattu, Erode, Cuddalore and Kancheepuram districts.
During the pandemic lockdown when a few lakhs of migrant workers left for their respective home States, the Bangladeshi workers stayed on. Some of them indulged in activities such as drug peddling during the period, the sources added.