NIA arrests 44 middlemen who trafficked Rohingyas to India in pan-India raids | Latest News India
The NIA carried out raids at over four dozen locations in 10 states and the agency has registered four cases to probe a larger nexus involved in the illegal immigration
The NIA is likely to seek help from Bangladeshi authorities to identify middlemen and key players on the other side of border
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday carried out raids at over four dozen locations in 10 states and arrested 44 middlemen who were part of a pan-India network human trafficking syndicate that facilitated entry of Rohingya Muslims into India via Indo-Bangladesh border and then helped them settle here in different cities, people familiar with the development said.
The agency has registered four cases to probe a larger nexus involved in the illegal immigration and is likely to seek help from Bangladeshi authorities to identify middlemen and key players on the other side of border, they said.
“In a big blow to human trafficking networks operating across 10 states and union territories, the NIA, in close coordination with the Border Security Force (BSF) and state police forces, conducted a comprehensive operation across multiple states in India Wednesday morning. The operation aimed at dismantling illegal human trafficking support networks involved in infiltration and settlement of illegal migrants across the Indo-Bangladesh border into India,” the anti-terror probe agency said in a statement.
Overall, 55 locations were raided in Tripura, Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Puducherry.
Officials cited above said NIA took over the probe into larger conspiracy on the directions of Union home minister Amit Shah after Assam Police unearthed the racket from February this year till now.
Assam director general of police (DGP), G P Singh, told HT that “this is a pan-India network of touts which brings Rohingyas to India. From February till now, we have stopped or turned back around 450 Rohingya Muslims with the assistance of border guarding forces”.
He said they came across the racket in February when a group of Rohingiyas were detected on a train coming from Tripura, at Karimganj railway station, by the Karimganj Police.
“The touts on both sides of border facilitated the entry of illegal migrants. That’s when we began an operation to root out the network of these touts. It turns out that they are based across India, which is a serious national security concern,” Singh said.
NIA has registered four cases to unearth the conspiracy. It said its probe has revealed that “different modules of this illegal human trafficking network were spread over various states, including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir and operating from there.”
After raids on Wednesday, the agency arrested 21 persons from Tripura, 10 from Karnataka, five in Assam, three in West Bengal, two in Tamil Nadu, and one each in Telangana, Puducherry and Haryana. It has also recovered a significant number of identity-related documents, including Aadhaar cards and Pan Cards – suspected to be forged; Indian currency notes with a total value exceeding ₹20 lakhs, foreign currency amounting to 4,550 USD. “Further investigations into the activities and modus operandi of these illegal human trafficking networks would continue to dismantle the entire ecosystem of these networks,” NIA statement added.
The Centre has maintained that illegal immigrants including Rohingyas pose a threat to national security and that there are reports about some Rohingya migrants indulging in illegal activities.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in September 2017, in response to a petition filed by two Rohingya immigrants seeking refugee status, the Union home ministry said, “Continuance of Rohingyas’ illegal immigration into India and their continued stay has serious national security ramifications and threats.”
The affidavit estimated that there were then around 40,000 Rohingyas Muslims in the country. It added that intelligence inputs suggested some Rohingyas had links with Pakistan-based terror organisations and that they were indulging in anti-national activities such as mobilisation of funds through hawala channels, procuring fake identities and indulging in human trafficking.
India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and rejects the UN position that deporting Rohingyas violates the principle of refoulment, sending refugees back to face danger.