Transit route

I caught up with Rathin Das In Tehetta Bazar,adjacent to the Bangladesh border.He has a valid passport.But he didn’t feel the urge to renew his visa.”Do you know the consequence of this offense?”

Sticking his nose higher in the air,Rathin replied,”Are you joking?-Do you know the actual figure of Bangladeshis who entered India through valid passports and visas cannot be traced?They Just vanish in thin air.I’m just one of them.”Rathin then lifted the pile of papers and pointed  his right finger in the middle,shuffled them a little and said,”Look at this figure-Authorities couldn’t trace over 1.2 million people from across the border legally through this state since 1970s.”

I met Sohail and his wife Rasheeda,near Karimpur in Nadia district another border town, They cross over the border for medical treatment.In fact,thousands from Bangladesh  prefer to come to Bengal for even minor medical treatments.Throughout the year,Bangladeshis occupy the hotel rooms in Sudder street and other parts of Calcutta.For some of them Calcutta  is their second home.

One fine morning,I met Saifudeen Islam from Bangladesh at a resturant in Sadar Street. Sadar Street in Central Calcutta is the area where one can find tourists and bag packers from all over the world.Saifudeen was chatting with some of his friend.

“What’s going on?”I asked.

“we are amuse by the fact that even fugitives of our country consider West Bengal as a safe heaven,” he said,drawing my attention to a newspaper report.

“Do you have any knowledge the way they operate?,” one of his fried asked,dreading that he might already know the answer.In fact,fugitives and criminals use this side of the border as a safe heaven.They have been living Calcutta and adjoining places for years and easily manage to get Indian passports and even ration cards in their name.

In fact,fugitives and criminals use this side of the border as a safe heaven.They have been living Calcutta and adjoining places for years and easily manage to get Indian passports and even ration cards in their name.

In recent past,Sanjibul Islam alias Imam,was arrested by CID.He was wanted in Dhaka in more than 50 cases,including 13 murders.In 2009,Subrata Bayan ,a dreaded criminal was arrested fro palm Avenue in South Calcutta. Subrata figured on the Interpol’s ‘most wanted’ list.He was wanted in several cases of murder,extortion in Bangladesh.

CID also arrested two criminals, Tanveer-ul-Islam and Hariz Ahmed, alias Mohammad Hassan.Tanveer, was arrested from  an apartment in northern fringes of Calcutta,was allegedly involved in a grenade attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka in 2004. Hariz,  on the other hand,arrested in Kaikhali,had more than 42 murder cases pending against him.

On Nov.17, Calcutta police arrested three Bangladeshis with alleged links to a terror group. The group’s name resurfaced during investigations into the July 28, 2005 blast on the Shramajeevi Express, which had killed at least 10 passengers.
They belong to little known terror group called the Shahid Belal group which has links with the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami (Huji). Last year,Police arrested Mohammad Shamim Akhtar, the alleged ISI agent.Akhtar and Alam Abdul Malik, alias Alamgir, both alleged activists of Harkat-ul Jehadi Islami, were arrested in Shalimar (Howrah) by the CID’s Special Operation Group. Detectives also tracked down who met the duo while looking for a job in Bangladesh.

Terror outfits regular use Bengal’s porous borders with Bangladesh to spread their subversive activities. Fake currency note rackets are very much active in India .Recently,Four men allegedly circulating counterfeit by the Delhi Crime Branch.Crime Branch officials seized INR 1 million in fake notes smuggled in through the India-Bangladesh border. The arrested persons were identified as Waseem, Mazibur Rehman, Rohit Yadav and Vipin Khari.

After the Awami League headed by Sheikh Haseina returned to power in Bangladesh,India discussed ways to cooperate in combating The two sides also discussed Bangladesh’s proposal for setting up of a joint anti-terror tactics to fight terrorism. Earlier,India warned Bangladesh against providing safe haven to terrorists active in the north eastern region. Infiltration is become the major problem in West Bengal. The 4,095 km border that India shares with Bangladesh,West Bengal alone covers 2,216 km. But it is along 1,145 km border in the southern part of the state that most of the influx from Bangladesh (both legal and illegal) takes place. The border fencing that was started a few years ago only covers 530 km. Experts believe that this type of measures may have check the infiltration,the porous border complicated the situation.West Bengal is being increasingly used as a transit route by operatives of militant outfits sneaking in through its borders with Bangladesh.Rise in the number of sleeper cells in its districts adjoining the State’s borders with these two countries complicated the matter. These sleeper cells work for various militant outfits and facilitate the entry of militants into India. Authorities couldn’t trace over 1.2 million people from across the border legally through this state since 1970s. Some of them have valid passport.But they didn’t feel the urge to renew their visas.

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