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Lakhs of Bangladeshis go missing in India after expiry of travel permits

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, June 4 - It is an established fact that illegal migration from Bangladesh has posed a serious threat to the identity of the indigenous people of Assam, while, the problem has also assumed serious proportion in some other parts of the country. But another dimension of the problem has come to light as a large number of Bangladeshi nationals, who entered India with valid documents, are also missing and they never returned to their own country after the expiry of the term of their travel documents.

A large number of Bangladeshi nationals visit India with valid documents every year but a substantial number of them never return to their homeland and the Government agencies of India are not aware of their whereabouts. It is believed that such persons must have spread to all parts of the country after the validity of their travel documents expired and so far, no mechanism has been evolved to keep a watch on the Bangladeshi nationals who enter India with valid travel documents.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that Bangladeshi nationals visit India with travel documents for different purposes, which include pilgrimage, visits to relatives, studies, medical treatment, etc., and the Government of India also allow visas to such travellers. But the worrying fact is that a large number of such persons never return to their motherland and no one knows where they are living in India.

A study was conducted of the Bangladeshi nationals who entered India through the check posts located in West Bengal during the period from 1972 to March, 2005 and the records proved the fact that lakhs of Bangladeshi nationals never returned to their country after entering India.

According to the study, from 1972 to 2005 (March) 8337474 (Hindus-4280681, Muslims-4004785, others-52008) Bangladeshis came to India through West Bengal � Bangladesh border immigration check posts with valid travel documents. Of them, according to records, 7095504 (Hindus-3507338, Muslims-3543573, others-44593) have returned to Bangladesh but the remaining 12,419,70 (Hindus-773343, Muslims-461212, others-7415) continue to be in India without a trace.

Sources pointed out that if so many Bangladeshi nationals are reported missing after entering India through the check posts in one state, the actual situation may turn out to be much serious as India shares more than 4,000 kilometres of international border with Bangladesh and the actual number of Bangladeshi nationals who never returned to their own country after entering India with valid travel documents could be much more. With no Government mechanism in place to keep trace of such persons, now it is almost impossible to detect where the persons are now living. Moreover, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, if passed, will give a chance to substantial number of such persons to apply for Indian citizenship.

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Lakhs of Bangladeshis go missing in India after expiry of travel permits

GUWAHATI, June 4 - It is an established fact that illegal migration from Bangladesh has posed a serious threat to the identity of the indigenous people of Assam, while, the problem has also assumed serious proportion in some other parts of the country. But another dimension of the problem has come to light as a large number of Bangladeshi nationals, who entered India with valid documents, are also missing and they never returned to their own country after the expiry of the term of their travel documents.

A large number of Bangladeshi nationals visit India with valid documents every year but a substantial number of them never return to their homeland and the Government agencies of India are not aware of their whereabouts. It is believed that such persons must have spread to all parts of the country after the validity of their travel documents expired and so far, no mechanism has been evolved to keep a watch on the Bangladeshi nationals who enter India with valid travel documents.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that Bangladeshi nationals visit India with travel documents for different purposes, which include pilgrimage, visits to relatives, studies, medical treatment, etc., and the Government of India also allow visas to such travellers. But the worrying fact is that a large number of such persons never return to their motherland and no one knows where they are living in India.

A study was conducted of the Bangladeshi nationals who entered India through the check posts located in West Bengal during the period from 1972 to March, 2005 and the records proved the fact that lakhs of Bangladeshi nationals never returned to their country after entering India.

According to the study, from 1972 to 2005 (March) 8337474 (Hindus-4280681, Muslims-4004785, others-52008) Bangladeshis came to India through West Bengal � Bangladesh border immigration check posts with valid travel documents. Of them, according to records, 7095504 (Hindus-3507338, Muslims-3543573, others-44593) have returned to Bangladesh but the remaining 12,419,70 (Hindus-773343, Muslims-461212, others-7415) continue to be in India without a trace.

Sources pointed out that if so many Bangladeshi nationals are reported missing after entering India through the check posts in one state, the actual situation may turn out to be much serious as India shares more than 4,000 kilometres of international border with Bangladesh and the actual number of Bangladeshi nationals who never returned to their own country after entering India with valid travel documents could be much more. With no Government mechanism in place to keep trace of such persons, now it is almost impossible to detect where the persons are now living. Moreover, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, if passed, will give a chance to substantial number of such persons to apply for Indian citizenship.

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