Industry Desk: The number of people caught while trying to enter Bangladesh from India increased by over 50 percent in 2018 as compared to the previous year, local media reports.
As many as 2,971 people were arrested by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in 2028, which was at 1,800 in 2017, according to latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), reports Hindustan Times.
According to the English daily, a large number of those who were caught trying to illegally emigrate were women and children.
“The NCRB Crime in India 2018” report says that out of the 2,971 people arrested in 2018 while making an “outward movement” to Bangladesh, 1,532 were men, 749 women and 690 children. This corresponding numbers was 1,477, 268 and 55 in 2017,” reads the Hindustan Times report.
On the other hand, “inward movement” from Bangladesh came down marginally to 1,118 in 2018 in comparison to 1,180 in 2017.
The NCRB data does not explain the motives of those arrested by BSF, which manages the international borders in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Assam.
The numbers come at a time when the second draft list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was released on July 30, 2018 which excluded 4 million people, according to the daily .
There were reports at the time of widespread fears in the region that those not included in the list would cross over to Bangladesh. The final draft list, which exclused 1.9 million people, was published last year on July 31.
Analysts, however, are not surprised with the data.
“A definite reverse migration is happening to Bangladesh because of primarily two reasons – a fear factor generated by NRC post Assam followed by repeated statements by BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leaders that such an exercise would be conducted all over India,” Subir Bhaumik, an author and Bangladesh expert, was quoted by Hindutan Times as saying.
“Secondly, Bangladesh’s economy today is in much better position and there is uncertainty in India. Those who came here (to India) in 1970s and 1980s have better opportunities in Bangladesh. Why would they risk being beaten up and called illegal immigrants when they can respectfully work in their country?” said Bhaumik, adding that the 2019 figure may be even higher.
Earlier this month, Border Guard Bangladesh’s (BGB) director-general, Major General Md Shafeenul Islam, said that 445 Bangladeshi nationals were arrested while crossing over from India.
BSF officials said the number of people trying to cross over is not alarming but it has increased.
“It will be difficult to assess how many of these people have actually tried to leave the country – either on their own as they wanted to emigrate to Bangladesh or through trafficking networks,” said a senior BSF official was quoted by the daily.
“Subsequently, large number of human traffickers, cattle smugglers, fake currency and drugs suppliers, and suspected terrorists who move in and out of Bangladesh regularly are often arrested on Indo-Bangla border.
“But there are other people who have families on both sides who are often apprehended as well when they cannot produce proper documents”, said the officer who preferred to go unnamed.
Bangladesh and India share a 4,096km-long border.
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