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Acting on complaint in Assam, NIA arrest 44 persons in 10 states for trafficking of Rohingyas, Bangladeshi migrants

Guwahati: Acting on a complaint by Assam police in September, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday arrested 44 persons during raids in 10 states and Union Territories for their alleged involvement in the trafficking of “illegal Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants” into India.

The arrests were made in Tripura (21), Karnataka (10), Assam (five), West Bengal (three) and one each in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Telangana and Haryana. The raids were also conducted in Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. Border Security Force and the state police were also part of the drive, the NIA said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“The operation is aimed at dismantling illegal human trafficking support networks involved in infiltration and settlement of illegal migrants across the Indo-Bangladesh border into India.”

Assam Police moved the MHA for an investigation by the NIAafter theydetected a group of Rohinhyas in a train coming from Tripura, in South Assam’s Karimganj railway station in February this year. Following this 450 Rohinhyas/Bangladeshis were stopped on the border and were turned back with the help of BSF, Assam police said in a statement on Wednesday.

“During the course of enquiries and questioning, it was ascertained that the illegal migrants were facilitated in entering India illegally by touts/middlemen, who have been playing a major role in the infiltration. During investigation, it was also learnt that the touts exist not only on both the sides of the Indo-Bangladesh border, but also in the mainland,” it further said. The NIA said four human trafficking cases were subsequently registered at the NIA branches in Guwahati, Chennai, Bangalore and Jaipur and simultaneous raids and searches were carried out in 55 locations.

“Investigations into the cases revealed that different modules of this illegal human trafficking network were spread over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir and were operating from there. Identity-related documents, including Aadhar cards and Pan Cards, suspected to be forged, digital devices, Indian currency notes worth Rs. 20 lakhs and foreign currency amounting to 4550 USD were seized during the raids,” the NIA said.

Special Task Force, set up by Assam Police, launched an operation in July and arrested 10 touts. “Further investigation revealed that the network of touts existed across India, which was a serious national security concern with inter-state ramifications. Therefore, the Government of Assam requested the MHA to transfer one of the cases to the NIA given the fact that Assam was being used as a corridor for this anti-national activity,” Assam Police further said.Sources said the touts also helped such illegal migrants to prepare fake Indian documents like Voter ID card, Aadhar cards, passports and help them reach the big cities by trains via Assam.

(Published 08 November 2023, 14:35 IST)

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