Legal migration from Bangladesh on a high

Bangladesh has requested the Government of India to put restrictions on issuing visas to Bangladeshi nationals trying to cross over to West Bengal following sporadic violence and rioting in different parts of the country.

In the past few weeks, all the Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) on Indo-Bangla border have witnessed a phenomenal increase in the number of Bangladeshis, both Hindus and Muslims, legally crossing over to India, mostly on medical grounds.

The Border Security Force and other central agencies working at border outposts had urged their counterparts in Bangladesh to check such migration. Following this, the Bangladesh government requested the Indian authorities to tighten the norms for issuing the visas.

As per the available records, the ICP at Petrapole (Haridaspur) in North 24-Parganas saw 4,180 Bangladeshi nationals entering West Bengal on December 6 compared to the average per day entry that remained 390 in last few weeks.

Similarly, the Hilly ICP in North Dinajpur recorded recorded entry of 234 Bangladeshi nationals on the same day against the per day average of 30. The Changrabandha ICP in Coochbehar, which records average 26 entries, witnessed 498 Bangladeshis entering India on the day while another 211 Bangladeshis arrived in India through Mahadipur ICP, which sees an an average of 23 entries per day. The Gozadanga ICP in North 24-Parganas recorded 445 entries on the day compared to daily average of 50.

According to sources in immigration department, most of the people who entered legally have got their visas on medical grounds.

"We have issues with infiltration and most of time we try to push them back. But now many people are coming with legal documents. The rate of exit is not proportionate with the rate of entry," said a senior BSF official. However, he said, the number has decreased after the restriction on issuance of visa.

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