As many as 132 Pakistani nationals have 'vanished' without a trace from West Bengal in the past few years after their tenure of visas expired.
All of them came to Bengal with valid papers, but never left the country. There is no record of these people leaving India through any of the exit points, say police officials.
The fact that came to light in a recent meeting of several security and intelligence agencies in Kolkata, is giving sleepless nights to cops and intelligence officials, especially after the Mumbai blasts that killed 19 people.
“We are extremely that many Pakistani nationals, whose visas expired, have gone traceless from West Bengal. We are trying to find them out. The matter concerns our national security,” Banibrata Basu, additional director general of state intelligence branch, told Hindustan Times on Saturday.
The state intelligence branch (IB) has collated the figure of Pakistanis who 'overstayed and remain traceless'. The sleuths collected the figure till June 30, 2011. Most of these Pak nationals have vanished in the past three years.
According to rule, a Pakistani national after entering India has to record his or her entry at the local police station within 24 hours of his or her arrival. The visitor has to notify the police station again at the time of departure.
IB sources say, these 132 Pakistani visitors recorded their arrival at the concerned police stations but none of them recorded their exit. No record of exit was found at any of exit points across the country. In the meantime, their visas expired.
On July 15, two days after the serial blasts rocked Mumbai, the issue of 'vanishing' Pakistani nationals came up during a meeting of subsidiary multi-agency center (SMAC) in Kolkata. The representatives of Special Protection Group, Navy, Border Security Force and several state and Central-level intelligence agencies attended the meeting. As IB officials placed the figure in the meeting, central agencies expressed their worry and wanted to know the state’s initiatives to track down the missing visitors.
According to the information collected by the sleuths of IB, most of the visitors have vanished from North 24 parganas, a district adjacent to Kolkata. As many as 82 Pakistanis have 'disappeared' from this district.
Murshidabad comes second among the districts accounting for 33 people. Other districts such as Burdwan, Hooghly and South 24 paganas have much smaller contributions to the tally.
IB officials have gathered that most of these Pakistanis had entered into India through Atari border in Punjab. However, a few have recorded their entry at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.