Karnataka has no plan to keep tabs on rogue foreigners

Karnataka has no plan to keep tabs on rogue foreigners

Lack of co-ordination between police, intel agencies hurts

The Home Department appears to have no plan to keep tabs on foreigners overstaying and illegally residing in Karnataka, though they are found involved in increasing number of crimes.

There is no proper system to track foreigners and their activities, which many senior police officers see as a potential threat to the Karnataka’s security.

The biggest stumbling block is the lack of co-ordination among the security and intelligence agencies. A foreigner must register with the jurisdictional Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 14 days of their arrival if their visa is valid for more than 180 days. The FRRO should maintain data of the foreigners. The Intelligence Bureau, the state and city intelligence agencies should monitor their activities.

A senior police officer, who headed a team to compile the data on foreigners in Bengaluru, said the lack of co-ordination among the agencies led to foreigners’ involvement in serious crimes being ignored.

The local police act on the input given by these agencies but the latter care little to provide the data. The Bengaluru police decided to compile the data on foreigners following frequent clashes between local residents and nationals of African countries in the eastern outskirts of the city last year.

“Many foreigners fail to produce passport and other documents when demanded. They are involved in online cheating, fraud, prostitution and buying vehicles without documents. Those who overstay or stay illegally keep changing their residence, making it difficult for the local police to trace them,” a senior police officer said. “These are the issues that the local police alone cannot solve.”

No monitoring
He regretted that no agency – FRRO, IB, state or city intelligence unit – was monitoring the overstaying and illegally staying foreigners. The city police face a challenge whenever they come across overstaying foreigners committing crimes, he said. A former Inspector General of Police said some foreigners committed all kinds of crimes, including terrorism. “The agencies which should monitor them indulge in blame-game instead and help the foreigners go scot-free,” he said.

A retired Director General and Inspector of Police has stressed the need for an independent system with men, machinery and finance to keep tabs on foreigners. “It’s a tedious job and demands an independent functioning style,” he said.

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