In the midst of a heated debate around the NRC, there are several videos doing the rounds in which Bangladeshi nationals are heard saying that they have Indian voter cards and have voted for a particular party in the Opposition, that helped them get these cards.

The NRC is a hot topic and would need to be implemented urgently in the states of West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka. Although Mamata Banerjee has gone on a rampage against the NRC, the fact remains that it needs to be implemented there first as it is the entry point and it is there where they first procure official government documents.

Operation Bengal:

In the early 1990s, the Research and Analysis Wing carried out a dangerous mission against the Jamaat-e-Islami. A team of the R&AW was sent to Bangladesh to find out about this evil design and it was learnt that the JeI had planned on sending scores of Bangladeshis into India with an intention of carrying out Islamic, land and economic jihad.

Top officers who were part of the mission tell MyNation they had managed to scuttle the plans to a large extent. However, over a period of time, political interference and the local politics in India ensured the flow of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh into India.

Today, there is a standard procedure that every illegal immigrant follows. With the help of touts, they enter Bengal, look for shelter in Kazipara, which is a Muslim dominated area. While some undertake odd jobs, the rest opt to purchase an autorickshaw or Toto. The touts provide them with the money for the down payment and over a period of time, they repay the amount.

Statistics would go on to suggest that in border towns such as Barsat, the Bangladeshis have outnumbered the Indians. They have been coming in since the past three decades and settling down in these towns.

Indians or Bangladeshis:

This brings us to the issue of procuring valid government documents. If one were to do a census at Barsat with the help of the government documents, it would suggest that all of them are Indian nationals.

This is because almost all these illegal immigrants have voter cards and other government documents. Once they come in, they first take up small jobs or purchase Totos. These persons then stay on for a year, before their touts get them valid government documents. They first get a voter identification, following by a PAN and then ration card.

Once they procure these documents, they begin moving to other parts of the country. The influx is so high that Bengal has been extremely populated with these illegal immigrants. This is why they have started moving to other parts of the country. However, on voting day, they have to be back in Bengal or the place they infiltrated into, failing which the tout will ensure that he or she is pushed back to Bangladesh.

As cheap as Rs 150:

On January 7, 2013, Mumbai Police arrested 13 persons on the charge that they were illegal immigrants. The raid was conducted on P D’Mello Road at a fancy hotel. These persons claimed to be Indian nationals. The police however became suspicious when the Bengali dialect sounded different.

During the probe, the police found on these persons, Aadhaar cards, voter identification cards, a certificate from a Sarpanch in West Bengal. A driving licence issued at the Mumbai RTO was also found on them. They told the police that their agent had helped procure these documents.

In the year 2012, Mumbai Police found that a large number of Bangladeshis had managed to enter Mumbai. A raid was conducted at Wadala and 48 Bangladeshis were arrested. All of them worked at a construction site. In the year 2012 alone, Mumbai police arrested 1,121 Bangladeshis from the city.

Each one of them were found with a voter identification card sourced from West Bengal. When questioned they said that they had procured these cards through their touts in Bengal for Rs 150. Others also told the police that the tout had given them the cards on the pre-condition that they would have to return whenever there is an election being held.

As recently as October 2019, Bengaluru Police had rounded off 60 persons during a raid. The police conducted this operation based on a tip off by the Intelligence Bureau about the presence of Bangladeshis in the city. During this raid too, the police had found Aadhaar cards, voter identification cards among other documents.

The voter ID racket:

Pakipara, in Bongaon, West Bengal is located around 4 kilometres away from the International Border with Bangladesh. This is one of the many towns where there is a voter ID card racket.

During one raid, the officials seized sophisticated equipment from the accused. The machine was used to replicate the logo of the Election Commission of India on the voter ID card. In addition to this, a computer and a printer too were seized. The machines were also used make passports and driving licences as well. These documents would be prepared and then handed over to the illegal immigrants.

Investigations revealed that the photos in the voter ID cards would be replaced, following which they would change the name and place the photograph of the illegal immigrant on it.

Officials say that the voter ID racket works both ways. In the earlier days, they would get the genuine one from the election commission after producing fake documents. Today, they are using fake ones as the number of these immigrants has gone up considerably. Further this ID helps them move around the country with the protection of a document.

Statistics speak:

The latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau does not paint a pretty picture. Bengal accounts for 61.9% of the foreign prisoners in the country. Further 1,284 out of the 1,403 Bangladeshi convicts are from Bengal alone.

These statistics are not alarming in the least, since the Bangladesh-India corridor is the second most used corridor in the world by migrants. While Bengal in 2017 accounted for 61.9% of foreign prisoners in the country, in the year 2016, the figures stood at 57.6%.

These Bangladeshis in jail have not been convicted only for being illegal immigrants. The cases against them range from counterfeiting Indian currency, drug smuggling, rape, murder and terrorism. The latest Home Ministry report also cites the high levels of radicalisation being undertaken by these elements in Murshidabad and Burdwan. The Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh has roped in several Bangladeshis and even opened up a large number of Madrasas to undertake an extensive radicalisation drive.

In Uttar Pradesh, there is a drive to identify illegal Bangladeshis. A verification drive is being launched after various reports suggested the presence of these persons and even said that most of them had become a security risk. The police would carry out this exercise at railway stations, new colonies and bus stations to identify the illegal immigrants.

Those crying about human rights must also realise that the illegal immigrants were used in the Burdwan terror case, the Bengaluru serial blasts and the Bodhgaya blast case. It was found that a large number of operatives had moved to Mallapuram after the attacks. There are camps set up for the Bengali speaking people in Kerala and these persons stay at these camps and mix with them.

Further, it has also been found in at least three probes by the National Investigation Agency that the illegal immigrants are used couriers of the fake currency that is manufactured in Malda, West Bengal.