There has been a sudden increase in trespassing into Bangladesh from India through the Maheshpur border in Jhenaidah, with many people infiltrating or trying to enter the country every day.
The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members detained 203 people, including 75 women and 64 children over the past 10 days from the area and sent them to jail, lodging lawsuits against them.
BGB said most of the detained are residents of Bengaluru, the capital of India’s Karnataka state. The detained people said they have left India due to various types of pressure including fear of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). They do not want to go back to India.
Local people claimed that the number of trespassers is hugher than the number of people detained by BGB. They have been entering Bangladesh through forests at night, they said.
BGB, however, said they have heightened vigilance along the border so that none can enter the country illegally.
India’s state of Assam published the final list of NRC on 31 August that excluded over 1.9 million people, making them virtually stateless.
In that context, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi repeatedly assured his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina at bilateral meetings in New York on 27 September and in New Delhi on 5 October, saying that Bangladesh has nothing to be worried as the NRC was India’s internal issue.
However, India’s home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that they want to have NRC all over India.
Officials of BGB’s 58 Khalishpur battalion in Maheshpur upazila said the infiltration through Jaluli, Khosalpur, Palianpur and Matila border areas has increased.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, BGB’s 58 Khalishpur battalion commander lieutenant colonel Kamrul Ahsan said most of the detained told them that they were forced to leave the country coming under various types of pressure including that of the NRC. Many have left everything behind.
Eight members of a family told the BGB that they have left their property in Bengaluru, India and do not want to go back there. Most of the detained are Muslims.
Providing addresses to the BGB, the detained claimed that they once lived in Bangladesh. But the BGB men could not immediately verify the addresses. They informed the headquarters about the matter.
“It’s impossible to confirm their actual address immediately. Another question is, where would they stay after getting bail from the court. We’ve informed the matter to the authorities,” said lieutenant colonel Kamrul Ahsan.
Acting executive officer of Maheshpur upazila Sujan Sarkar said they discussed the matter in a meeting on the district’s law and order situation. He also talked to the BGB officials. They told him that the problem of infiltration is due to the NRC.
*The report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza