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More illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India returning home, shows BSF data

  • Published at 01:48 pm December 18th, 2020
bgb benapole border
File Photo: Border Guard Bangladesh personnel are patrolling the India-Bangladesh border in Benapole to stave off intrusion from India Dhaka Tribune

There has been a surge in numbers of illegal Bangladeshis leaving the country due to lack of work after the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown

The number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants apprehended leaving India has been double compared to those who entered the country illegally in the last four years, according to data disclosed by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB). 

As of December 14 this year, as many as 3,173 illegal migrants were detained by the BSF when they were attempting to cross over to Bangladesh, three times more than 1,115 people caught while trying to enter India through illegal means, reports The Hindu.

The numbers of Bangladeshis leaving the country stood at 2,638, 2,971, and 821 in 2019, 2018, and 2017 respectively compared to 1,351, 1,118, and 871 persons respectively who entered illegally.

In 2017, as many as 892 Indians were caught while crossing over to Bangladesh and 276 Indians while entering the country without any documents. However, such data is not available for subsequent years in the NCRB's annual report.

The Hindu quoted a senior government official as saying the number of people leaving the country could be more as there are instructions to avoid paperwork and documentation for out-migrants. 

Another official added that there has been a surge in numbers of illegal Bangladeshis leaving the country due to lack of work after the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

Seeking anonymity he said: "If they are apprehended, we let them go back. If they are arrested, it leads to lengthy legal procedures and the illegal migrants then have to be placed in a shelter or detention home till their nationality is proved."

The official said between August 1 and November 15 this year, as many as 50 Bangladeshis who inadvertently entered India were handed over to the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) as a goodwill gesture.

"Since bilateral relations have improved, the two forces have decided that there should be zero killings on the border and as part of confidence building measures, 50 such people were handed over to the BGB," he added.

'Difficult terrain'

On March 3, in a written reply in Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said: "some infiltrators are able to enter in a clandestine and surreptitious manner, mainly due to difficult riverine terrain in parts of international border with Bangladesh which are not amenable to physical fencing."

Bangladesh and India share 4096.7km border with large porous stretches.

Nityanand added that fencing along 900km of border along Bangladesh could not be completed due to various reasons which include "difficult terrain, riverine and marshy land, short working season, land acquisition problems, public protests and objections by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB)."