Amidst growing concerns of cross-border infiltration to India from Bangladesh, the Assam police have recently discovered an illegally constructed tunnel in the Karimganj district of the State.
North East Live reported that the police unearthed the tunnel ‘accidentally’ while conducting an investigation in a recent kidnapping case. The said tunnel is located next to the barbed fence erected by BSF, adjoining a ditch, that separates the Indian territory from that of Bangladesh. Reportedly, the tunnel is frequently used by infiltrators and smugglers from Bangladesh to bypass the international border and make their way to India.
The police discovered the tunnel while probing a kidnapping case involving two cattle smugglers. They were allegedly kidnapped and taken to the Bangladeshi side but later miraculously returned back to Karimganj in Assam. This raised the suspicion of the law enforcement, who then interrogated the duo. On interrogation, the cattle smugglers took the police to the location where the tunnel is located. They have now been detained by the Karimganj police.
Reportedly, the tunnel has been used by infiltrators, smugglers and anti-social elements for a long time. This has now raised questions of security lapses at the border, which is guarded by the Border Security Force (BSF). Karimganj SP, Mayank Kumar, said, “This is a matter of investigation… Yes, there are some areas where this is a problem. We have conveyed the same to the BSF and this is a part of a joint and ongoing probe.”
21 illegal immigrants deported to Bangladesh from Assam
India has been taking stringent measures to identify and deport illegal immigrants in the country. Thousands of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants have been staying in Assam and the main purpose of the National Registry for Citizenship (NRC) that was implemented in the state was to identify illegal immigrants who have been threatening the demography of the eastern state.
In January 2019, about 21 Bangladeshi citizens who have been living illegally in Assam have been deported back to their country by the Indian authorities. They had entered India through the Tripura border and had been staying in Assam since then. After their identities were revealed, they were detained under the passport violation act and kept at the detention centre associated with the Cachar Jail in Silchar. After receiving approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Bangladeshis were reportedly taken by a special bus to the Sutarkandi Integrated check post along the India- Bangladesh border in the Karimganj district in Assam.