Returning from B'luru, 31 illegal migrants detained

Returning from B'luru, 31 illegal migrants detained

The detained Bangladeshis in Guwahati railway station on Monday. Photo by Manash Das

Thirty-one illegal migrants from Bangladesh, who worked in Bengaluru and remained undetected for up to four years, were arrested in Guwahati railway station on Monday morning.

The arrests come hours before the illegal migrants were to catch a train for Agartala, Tripura’s capital, to return home through the border.

Officials of government railway police (GRP), Assam, in Guwahati said that the Muslim migrants, including eight women and 13 children, had reached Guwahati by Bangalore Express on Sunday.

They were found at a platform during a routine check around 10 am on Monday, the officials said.

“All of them have confessed that they had crossed the fence of India-Bangladesh border in Tripura and in West Bengal and reached Bangalore by trains at different intervals,” the officials 

“They lived in Bangalore as rag pickers and stayed in rented houses or in shanties. We have arrested them as they could not produce travel documents like passport or visa,” they said.

Police said that the illegal migrants are residents of Bagarhat, Ferispur and Tirispur districts in Bangladesh.

The police suspected that the migrants were provided jobs in Bangalore by “middlemen”, who facilitate illegal migration through the borders in the Northeast and Bengal and engage the migrants in jobs in different cities including Bengaluru.

Of the 4,156 km long India-Bangladesh border, Northeast shares 1,939-km (Tripura 856-km, Meghalaya 443-km, Assam 262-km and Mizoram 180-km) and rest in West Bengal.

Soon after they were detained, Mohammad Sahidul Islam, one of the migrants, told DH that he had crossed a fence of Benapole border that connects Bangladesh with Tripura near Agartala two years ago and reached Bengaluru by a train.

“We lost our crops in frequent thunderstorms and floods and had no work in Bangladesh. I came to know that there are many jobs in Bangalore and so I decided to cross the border,” he said.

“I collected discarded plastic items from the streets of Bangalore and used to earn Rs 250 to Rs 300 daily by selling them to scrap traders. But after spending two years, I decided to go back to my family as my parents are old,” Sahidul Islam, who migrated alone, said.

Mohammad Dulal Mia, who crossed the border with his wife Honufa Bengum and two children, claimed that he had crossed the border in Bengal four years ago and reached Bengaluru by a train.

“Now we want to go back home as two of my children are still there in Bangladesh. We came to know that it is safe to go back through the Tripura border but we were caught by police here (Guwahati),” he said.“We are not criminals and just want to go back home quickly,” he said, pointing to his three-year-old daughter, Moriam, who was crying in the GRP police station compound in Guwahati.

The children, including five girls are aged between one to 13 years.Police said they would be booked under sections of Foreigners Act and Passport Act for entering India without valid travel documents.