The crackdown on Bangladeshis staying illegally in the city, kicked off by the Special Branch (SB) of the Mumbai Police six days ago, led to the arrest and subsequent deportation of 252 persons. According to SB officers, on the basis of reliable inputs, the team raided specific areas in Mankhurd and arrested 57 persons who did not possess proper residential proof.
During questioning, those arrested said that they were Bangladeshis and were working as labourers at construction sites on the outskirts of the city. The sleuths also learnt that more Bangladeshis were employed in Kamotegaon, Kharghar and Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai and Mira Road. The team succeeded in rounding up another 59 illegal immigrants from Navi Mumbai area, 136 from Mira Road areas. They were arrested and booked under the Foreigner Registration Act, 1946, and the Passport Act of 1950.
DCP Sanjay Shintre of SB-I said, “This year alone, we have arrested and deported 1,380 Bangladeshis. All immigrants had been provided to construction contractors as contractual labourers. We have also arrested 28 agents during the operation.”
Shintre added that since none of the Bangladeshi nationals arrested so far had a criminal background, they were deported to their country.
“A team of SB officials visited the Indo-Bangla border and handed these immigrants over to BSF personnel,” Shintre said.
SB branch officials said these immigrants are exploited by agents as they work for far less than their Indian counterparts.
Cause for concern
Officials of the Special Branch revealed that illegal immigration is cause for serious concern, as there are high chances of these persons getting involved in serious crimes, and possible terror activities. The SB sleuths claim that the influx is constant and these illegal immigrants are known to return after being deported. “We hope the recent deportation operation instills some fear and helps to stem the influx,” said an SB official.
According to the police, Rafique Sheikh who died while in custody at Dharavi police station after being arrested in connection with a counterfeit currency racket last Thursday was a Bangladeshi. In 2008 he was arrested by the Azad Maidan police and later given bail, but did not appear for the hearing. A non-bailable warrant was issued against him. He was finally arrested four years later by the Dharavi police.
In the first week of October, the Crime Branch (Unit XII) arrested three Bangladeshi nationals, including a woman, with fake currency notes worth Rs 4.10 lakh. The trio was about to catch a bus heading to Gujarat.