In a bid to curb illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals into the city, the special branch of the Mumbai police has asked the state home department to make the arrests of illegal migrants a non-bailable offence and set up a detention centre for those released on bail.
Though there is no official figure on the exact number of illegal migrants in and around the city, the annual migration is estimated at anything between 10,000 and 15,000. "Making the offence non-bailable will act as a deterrent to the trafficking syndicate. It will bring down the illegal migration by more than 60 per cent," said Vikas Sonawane, senior inspector, special branch.
Currently, illegal migrants are booked under the provisions of the Passport Act and the Foreigner Act (and Order). After their arrest, they can get bail against a cash bond of Rs 25,000. "Usually, middlemen help migrants in entering the city. As some of them work as labourers at construction sites, the middlemen pay for their bail," Sonawane said.
Once they are out on bail, the middlemen get the migrants to work as construction labourers at a meagre salary and take almost 70-80% of their salary from the developer.
Sonawane said that if bail is denied to the arrested migrants, the nexus between the middlemen and migrants would break. "Setting up a detention centre would ensure that middlemen don't get to pay for their bail and take money from them later," he said.
"On knowing that he would have to spend a lot of time in a detention centre after being caught, a migrant would think twice before landing in India," he said.