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Bangla blanket traders arrested

Behrampore, Feb. 7: Six Bangladeshis were arrested along with the owner of a house in the outskirts of the town this afternoon for staying without valid documents.

The arrested Bangladeshis include three brothers, Shahjahan Fakir, Ibrahim Fakir and Badshah Fakir and Selim Khalasi, Hasiyat Sheikh and Shaukat Ali Khan. “The owner of the house, Sherul Sheikh, was also picked up from the zamindari area just outside the town,” said a senior police officer.

All the six Bangladeshis are from Faridpur district and were living in the rented house over the past month, the police said.

The district intelligence branch has been asked to investigate the case.

The Bangladeshis were involved in various businesses in the area. “The condition in our country is dismal, so we crossed over to try and make a livelihood, we were paying Rs 700 as rent for a single room and had been selling blankets in the villages around here,” one of those arrested said.

Sources in the main market here said the Bangladeshis come every winter to purchase shawls and blankets from Kashmiri wholesalers on credit and carry them to the villages.

The six arrested men said they had been plying the trade for several years.

Sherul Sheikh, however, claimed he did not have any idea that his tenants were from the other side of the border. “They said they were from some other part of the district and I rented out the rooms in good faith. I have got involved in this case for no fault of my own,” Sheikh, a bidi trader, said.

The BSF today said 10 Bangladeshis were apprehended while crossing over to India illegally. They were rounded up from Charlabanhrad village in the Bhagabangola police station area and are now in the Lalbagh Sub-divisional Jail.

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