Bangladeshi migrants pose security threat to Odisha

Kendrapara: Absence of authentic data on the number of Bangladeshi migrants residing in the state and their unverified identity could pose security threat to Odisha, experts said.

According to sources, more than 2,000 Bangladeshi migrants are currently residing in Kendrapara alone where they have not only managed to make a living but also settled down as permanent residents with voter ids and residential proofs from local administration.

However the major concern about these migrants is many of them have been found involved in crimes and illegal activities.

Former Army officer Lieutenant General KPD Samant said “Migrants are entering the State through boats, train and other sources of transport with ease as there is no system to check the infiltration. If we do not take the matter seriously, the issue may worsen  in coming days just the way it happened in case of Mumbai.”

“Ensuring better fencing, vigilant patrolling and enhancing system to check infiltration through waterways should be made top priority to check migration of the refugees,” former police DG BB Mishra said.

Not only that, as threat of Rohingya refugees looms large in the neighbourhood Bangladesh, chances of their infiltration into Odisha can also not be ruled out.

Sources said during Bangladesh war in 1971, some Bangladeshi migrants were allowed to stay in Mahakalpara but their numbers have been increasing since then.

“Once they enter the borders, they do not think of returning and try to find a settlement be it at a relative or friend’s house and slowly get their permanent residence after getting identities. They get engaged, buy lands and settle down with ease. The main reason behind such acts going on with impunity is large scale corruption in the form of money they pay to local officers for providing them identity proofs,” Indrajit Ray , a local resident said.

In 2004, the state government issued notice to 1551 migrants to leave Odisha, however as some of them moved court seeking legal assistance citing flaws in the notice, deportation of illegal Bangladeshis from Odisha hasn’t been a success.

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