The number of alleged illegal Bangladeshi immigrants arrested in the city has seen a steady rise over the years, statistics from the special branch (SB) of the Mumbai police has revealed.
Among those arrested are men, women and children who crossed the border to eke out a living in various cities of the country, including Mumbai.
“The availability of cheap labour from Bangladesh has resulted in this rise of illegal migrants infiltrating into the city. These immigrants take advantage of improper fencing at the border,” said Sanjay Shintre, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), SB.
Acting on tip-offs, the SB usually initiates action in slum pockets of the city where illegal migrants take shelter. To prove their citizenship, accused immigrants often procure certificates declaring them as Indians, from sarpanches (village heads) of local villages.
“However, we check for more authentic documents such as birth certificates that are used for accurate identification. They are also identified by the dialect in which they speak,” added Shintre.
According to the police, these Bangladeshi immigrants often pass off as Indians by claiming that they belong to parts of West Bengal (WB). To avoid being taken for a ride, the police often seeks help from locals of villages in WB who are know more about the background of these immigrants.
The police, however, stated that immigrants continue their stay in the country even after they are arrested and subsequently bailed out of jail. Efforts to prevent their ingress into the city or to deport them have not been very successful. Out of the 1448 held in the city this year, about 250 were deported.
“The trials in these cases usually go on for a couple of years. Once they are bailed, they go back to their jobs in the city,” said Shintre.
He added, “Poverty drives these immigrants to come to the city along with their families in search of livelihood. However, they also cooperate with police investigations. They stay in slum pockets and keep themselves involved in doing petty jobs”, said Shintre.