Kerala Police worried over Influx of Bangladeshis

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on November 2, 2010

The lack of proper screening mechanism on the country’s eastern borders is causing concerns in Kerala as Bangladeshis keep on flocking into the State posing as Bengalis and in the garb of migrant workers.

Security officials say that extremists could be reaching the State in this way. This migration was one of the reasons for the flood of counterfeit currencies in Kochi and around, they say. At least three Bangladeshis have been taken into custody from the Kochi suburbs in the past months under suspicious circumstances.

There are indications that several of these migrants from Bangladesh could be pawns in the hands of terror outfits like the LeT which have strong bases in Bangladesh, say officials. They said the information gathered from Ghulam Saheel Mia, a Bangladeshi arrested the other day, had contained indications in this direction.

The newly constituted Internal Security Investigation Team of the Kerala Police had arrested Mia from Pothassery, Perumbavoor near Kochi for not having the required documents. He was staying there for the past one month in a rented house, doing the job of a welder occasionally.

Officials said anybody from Bangladesh could live in Kerala without being noticed by the authorities for the simple reason that there were lakhs of migrants working in the construction sector in the State. As the Bangladeshis posed as people from West Bengal, there was no way of identifying them, they pointed out.

Presently, there was no system to check the identity of such people due to the simple fact that tens of thousands of migrant workers were living in the suburbs of Kochi. The police had picked up Mia on the basis of information they gathered while monitoring the telephone calls from these areas.

“We had earlier tried to collect data on these people but it proved futile,” said a senior police official. “The other way is to make the migrant workers register themselves with us but they are unlikely to come forward,” he said.

According to the police, infiltrators from Bangladesh would avoid working under permanent employers for long duration in order to escape the possibility of being watched. For this reason, the police have instructed company owners that it was their responsibility to collect and keep the personal details of migrant workers.

One of the hazards of the influx of migrant workers is the arrival of counterfeit Indian currencies. In June last, the police had arrested a migrant from Murshidabad for distributing counterfeit currencies equivalent to Rs 20,000 in Kaladi alone. That Murshidabad is a Maoist-infested area had caused concern to the police.

The authorities think that such huge amounts of currencies were coming from Pakistan via Bangladesh and West Bengal as payment for serving as couriers for extremist groups. The DRI has already warned the police that Kochi had become a centre for counterfeit currency transactions.

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