GUWAHATI: Middlemen are the prime agents facilitating illegal cross-border movement of people from Bangladesh and Myanmar besides other neighbouring countries via Assam to other parts of the mainland. This has come to light following the arrest of several foreigners since 2017.
Since 2017 till June 2019, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has apprehended 59 foreigners from various railway stations across the State. Of them, seven were held in 2017, 36 in 2018, and 16 in 2019. While all the arrested foreigners in 2017 and 2018 were Bangladeshis, eight of the 16 arrested in 2019 were Myanmarese.
Sources informed that the highest numbers of 31 Bangladeshis were apprehended in a single case from Guwahati Railway Station on October 15, 2018. They were preparing to travel by the Kanchenjunga Express to Agartala. They were working in Bangalore and were supposed to proceed to Bangladesh from Agartala. Interestingly enough, all these foreigners have been taking help of middlemen or touts to proceed from their home countries to the different destinations in India via Assam.
Pointing out that the middlemen on both sides of the border work in close cooperation, GRP sources added, "These touts charge in packages for safely transporting the people from one side to the other. They charge up to Rs 20,000 (Indian currency) against each person. Most of the Bangladeshi nationals enter India from Chittagong or Chattogram in south Bangladesh. After entering India, the foreigners are even given PAN Cards and also Aadhaar Cards besides other documents.”