UP to do an Assam on ‘foreigners’

Amit Shah.

 The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday initiated measures to identify "foreigners" living "illegally" in the state, in a move along the lines of Assam's NRC (National Register of Citizens).

According to sources, the government has directed district police chiefs to launch a campaign to "identify Bangladeshis and other foreigners living illegally" in the state.  

The state police chief has sent a circular to senior superintendents of police (SSPs) and superintendents of police (SPs), instructing them to focus on slums and localities near railway and bus stations.

"We have information that there are many illegal Bangladeshis in the state," said a senior official, adding that such people will be deported to their country of origin.

He said that directives have also been issued to thoroughly check the documents furnished by foreigners to prove that they are residents of the country. "We will take strict action if the documents are found to be forged," the official said.

The move comes close on the heels of a few senior BJP leaders demanding an NRC-like exercise in Uttar Pradesh, claiming that lakhs of illegal Bangladeshis were living in the state and that they must be identified and deported.

Muslim leaders, however, opposed the move, saying it was not required in Uttar Pradesh.

Satya Prakash Agarwal, the BJP legislator from Meerut, had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeking NRC in the state.

"More than one lakh illegal Bangladeshis have been living in UP... they are involved in criminal activities... they must be identified as sent back," Agarwal had claimed. 

Muslim leaders said the demand for NRC in the state was not based on facts. "There may be a few illegal migrants here, but their numbers are not so high that the government needs an NRC," said a prominent cleric.

A few months ago, some Rohingyas (Bengali Muslims in Myanmar who fled the country after alleged persecution by security forces there) were identified in Meerut and some other parts.  

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