Rajasthan moves to expel Bangla workers | india | Hindustan Times
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Rajasthan moves to expel Bangla workers

india Updated: May 17, 2008 20:06 IST

The Rajasthan government is moving to expel illegal Bangladeshi migrant workers after a series of bomb blasts killed 61 people, a high-ranking official said.

While government officials haven't named any suspects in Tuesday's blasts in the state capital, Jaipur, media reports have quoted police as saying they are investigating possible links between the attacks and the Bangladesh-based Islamic extremist group Harkat-ul-Jehad-i-Islami.

A previously unknown Islamic militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahedeen claimed responsibility Thursday, saying it planted bicycles packed with explosives on the city's crowded streets.

The state's parliamentary affairs minister, Rajendra Singh Rathore, told reporters late Friday the government would investigate how many illegal migrant workers from Bangladesh are in the state and expel them.

Indian authorities say thousands of Bangladeshis, most of them Muslims, illegally enter India every year looking for jobs, a charge Bangladesh denies.

Some experts estimate as many as 20 million Bangladeshis are in India illegally, working as unskilled construction laborers or domestic helpers.

India shares a porous, 2,500-mile border with Bangladesh, and the migrant workers speak the same language as Indians from West Bengal state.

The claim of responsibility was made in a pair of videos and an e-mailed document. Authorities said they were investigating the communications to determine their authenticity.

"Some of the footage may have been meant to mislead," said Vasundhara Raje, the state's chief minister.

Police have released sketches of four men, about 18-25 years old, who are suspected of buying the bicycles and bags used in the bombings. Authorities have questioned more than a dozen people, but no arrests have been made.

Indian authorities have repeatedly suggested blame would eventually fall on Islamic militant groups.

Indian authorities earlier blamed Pakistan-based Islamic extremist groups for a spate of bombings that killed hundreds in this predominantly Hindu country of 1.1 billion people since 2005. Pakistan, an overwhelmingly Muslim country, denies any role in the bombings.