Rights

Karnataka Police Arrests 60 on Suspicion of Being Undocumented Bangladeshi Immigrants

The detainees – 29 men, 22 women and nine children – were picked up during a raid of the shanties in Marathahalli, Bellandur and Ramamurthy Nagar areas.

New Delhi: The Bengaluru police have rounded up at least 60 persons, including children, on the charge of being undocumented Bangladeshi immigrants during a raid in three shanties across the city, according to local news reports.

The reports said the detainees – 29 men, 22 women and nine children – were picked up during a raid of the shanties in Marathahalli, Bellandur and Ramamurthy Nagar areas of the city on Saturday (October 26).

The raids were said to have been conducted with the help of inputs from the central crime branch, which has been collating information from Intelligence Bureau officials about suspected Bangladeshis camping in the city. A team of police personnel has reportedly been formed by the crime branch specially to locate ‘illegal Bangladeshis’ ever since the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said it would carry out the exercise of having a National Register of Citizens (NRC) like Assam in Karnataka too.

State home minister B. Bommai had confirmed to the Deccan Herald on October 22 that he had instructed the formation of the team to collect data “on those living in the state illegally, without documents or with fake documents.”

Already, a detention centre is being built in the state to imprison foreigners found to be living in the state without papers.

Also read: Detained in Assam and Now Dead, Dulal Chandra’s Fate Shows the Madness of Official Policy

On October 27, some news reports quoted police officials as saying that though some of the detained persons showed Aadhaar cards, voter ID cards, etc., they were “fake”. Reports said the police identified them due to their “Bengali dialects” which were “different from those spoken in West Bengal”. Police said they were principally construction workers brought by contractors and they are in the process of finding out which contractor(s) brought them to the city.

The reports said according to the police, after completing the formalities, the arrested people will be handed over to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) instead of prosecuting them under the Foreigners’ Act, as it would allow them to stay in the country till the cases against them were decided.

On October 23, the Karnataka high court, in response to a petition, asked both the state and the Central governments what steps they were taking to deport undocumented Bangladeshis to their country.