Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday enlisted the cooperation of all five states sharing their boundary with Bangladesh to create a foolproof mechanism to secure the border and stressed on the need to prevent influx of Rohingyas and other illegal immigrants, citing a possible threat to internal security.
At a day-long meeting of chief ministers and home ministers of West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura in Kolkata to discuss issues pertaining to the Indo-Bangladesh border, Singh also proposed a ‘border protection grid’ — on the lines of the existing Unified Command structure in Jammu & Kashmir and other insurgency-hit states — comprising elements like physical and non-physical barriers, surveillance systems, intelligence agencies, state police, BSF and other state and central agencies to check illegal cross-border movement of people, cattle, fake Indian currency and drugs.
Highlighting the problem of illegal immigration of Rohingyas from across Bangladesh into West Bengal and Assam, the home minister requested chief ministers of the two states to crack down on the organised network of touts, largely concentrated in Kolkata and Guwahati, that reportedly facilitates their transit by providing them with forged identity documents and temporary accommodation before onward journey to settlements in Jammu, Hyderabad, Mewat (Haryana), Western UP, Delhi and Jaipur.
The minister “stressed on the need to prevent entry, at international borders, of illegal immigrants some of whom have links with extremist groups for furthering anti-national activities with ulterior motives and posing threat to internal security,” said a home ministry press release issued after the meeting. According to official estimates, around 40,000 Rohingyas are living in various parts of India.
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