Bangalore: The mishap at Ibalur, where a Bangladeshi boy was killed, raises questions about the government’s ability to keep a check on illegal immigration. According to BBMP officials, the family had no passport or visa to stay in the country.
Like Maroof’s family, there are hundreds of families staying illegally in the city. In a bid to act against these migrants the state government had even set up special task force in all the cities and districts, but little has been achieved so far.
Though the Home Department claimed there may be around 34 Bangladeshis and nine Pakistan nationals overstaying in the city, the number of Bangladeshi workers engaged in various sectors seems to prove otherwise.
Taken aback by the Bangladeshi population in HSR Layout alone, Mayor N. Shanthakumari questioned who had given them the permission to stay and work in the city. “In foreign countries, the government is strict about visa rules. There seems to be no regulation whatsoever in our country to keep a check on these immigrants,” she said.
While foreigners are free to move around the country once they gain entry, till date, the biggest problem lies on the borders, said S. T. Ramesh, former DG & IGP.
“Bangladeshi immigration to India had always been a problem. They illegally gain entry through porous borders from West Bengal and Assam. Their return has never been anyone’s concern. At least the government at the border states have never considered it to be a problem.
Most of these immigrants turn to India for employment and better job opportunities in the labour sector,” he said. Mr Ramesh added that identifying and prosecuting Bangladeshis was not a problem, but no efforts were being taken.
“The Foreigners’ Act prosecutes the illegal immigrants and they can be sent back by giving a ‘Leave India’ notice. However, if there is political will and good co-ordination between the state government and Central government, action can be taken,” he said.
Following Maroof’s death, Joint Commissioner of Bommanahalli zone Muniraj has written to the police commissioner seeking action against illegal immigrants overstaying in and around Bommanahalli. He said that nearly 500 Bangladeshis could be found in this area.
What is the government doing?
Apart from setting up a task force, the government has directed the social welfare department to set up a Foreigners Detention Centre to keep such foreigners under security till they are deported.
The police are also in touch with the intelligence agencies to know about foreigners who sneak in without any documents. The Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) stores all the data about foreigners overstaying here. If any person is overstaying, then he will be issued a notice and he/she could pay the penalty and legalise the stay.