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Whereabouts of 1.5 lakh Bangla nationals not known

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, July 7 � More than one-fifth of the Bangladeshi nationals, who enter India with proper travel documents, never return to their own country and introduction of visa-free regime for the citizens of the neighbouring country may prove to be disastrous for India.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that a thorough study of the problem was carried out in 2011 and it was found that of the five lakh Bangladeshi nationals who entered India with proper travel documents during the period of the survey, around 3.50 lakh returned to their homeland, while the rest never left India. Sources revealed that there was no record anywhere on the whereabouts of the persons who �just vanished� after entering India from Bangladesh. There was no record in any land or airport immigration centres about those missing Bangladeshi nationals leaving India and it is beyond doubt that those people are somewhere in India.

India recently agreed to relax visa norms for certain categories of people of Bangladesh who would come to India for studies and medical treatment, and sources claimed that it would not affect India as feared by certain sections.

However, sources claimed that there is no proposal to introduce visa-free regime for the people of Bangladesh seeking to enter India. Giving details of the misunderstanding created on the issue, sources said a proposal in this regard was received by the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka- Maldives (BSM) division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) from the Indian High Commission in Dhaka. Interestingly, without realising the sensitivity of the issue and even without the knowledge of the political leadership, some officials of the MEA decided to send to the Governments of the states having international borders with Bangladesh, for their opinions on the issue. That created confusion.

Citizens of only two countries � Nepal and Bhutan, can enter India without visa following mutual agreements with the Governments of those countries. Moreover, the citizens of Myanmar can enter up to a certain distance without visa for trade.

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Whereabouts of 1.5 lakh Bangla nationals not known

GUWAHATI, July 7 � More than one-fifth of the Bangladeshi nationals, who enter India with proper travel documents, never return to their own country and introduction of visa-free regime for the citizens of the neighbouring country may prove to be disastrous for India.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that a thorough study of the problem was carried out in 2011 and it was found that of the five lakh Bangladeshi nationals who entered India with proper travel documents during the period of the survey, around 3.50 lakh returned to their homeland, while the rest never left India. Sources revealed that there was no record anywhere on the whereabouts of the persons who �just vanished� after entering India from Bangladesh. There was no record in any land or airport immigration centres about those missing Bangladeshi nationals leaving India and it is beyond doubt that those people are somewhere in India.

India recently agreed to relax visa norms for certain categories of people of Bangladesh who would come to India for studies and medical treatment, and sources claimed that it would not affect India as feared by certain sections.

However, sources claimed that there is no proposal to introduce visa-free regime for the people of Bangladesh seeking to enter India. Giving details of the misunderstanding created on the issue, sources said a proposal in this regard was received by the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka- Maldives (BSM) division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) from the Indian High Commission in Dhaka. Interestingly, without realising the sensitivity of the issue and even without the knowledge of the political leadership, some officials of the MEA decided to send to the Governments of the states having international borders with Bangladesh, for their opinions on the issue. That created confusion.

Citizens of only two countries � Nepal and Bhutan, can enter India without visa following mutual agreements with the Governments of those countries. Moreover, the citizens of Myanmar can enter up to a certain distance without visa for trade.

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