Calcutta, Dec. 6: Police arrested 17 Bangladeshis — two suspected to have links with militants — in a night-long raid yesterday in North 24-Parganas.
The Bangladeshis, including two women and a child, were rounded up from a village in Basirhat sub-division where they had taken refuge before crossing the border. Three residents of the remote village were also arrested, following the raid by the Intelligence Branch of the state police and district police personnel.
The police claim to have busted an infiltration racket with these arrests.
During preliminary investigation today, the police learnt that the Bangladeshis arrested were from different parts of the country. “Four of them came from Mumbai and two from Delhi,” said an Intelligence Branch official.
“The infiltrators had planned to sneak back into Bangladesh within a day or two. All those arrested have been booked under the Foreigner’s Act,” said North 24-Parganas superintendent of police Basudeb Bag.
The police had received information last evening that Bangladeshis had assembled at Goabottala village in the Swarupnagar police station area, about 60 km from Calcutta. “We had a tip-off that two of them might have links with militant outfits,” the official added.
A team of 25 officials, along with a force from Swarupnagar police station, rushed to the village late last night. “We started questioning local people and learnt (that) the infiltrators had taken shelter at the house of Abdur Rehman Shahaji,” said the intelligence official.
Police first surrounded the house to prevent the Bangladeshis from escaping and arrested all of them. Shahaji, his wife Sakina Bibi, and friend Mohammad Jafar were also arrested for giving the Bangladeshis shelter.
Officials investigating the case are focussing on the two persons from Delhi. “We are interrogating them. We suspect they have links with militant outfits active in India. It is yet to be verified whether the two are active members of militant outfits or work as informers,” said the intelligence official, refusing to disclose their identity.
Officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, a central agency, have been informed and are expected to reach Barasat, the district headquarters, to interrogate the two.
The police are looking for a few more persons. “There are several people who are engaged in the racket of illegal crossover through the river route in Basirhat,” the official said.
The investigators are also questioning the villagers of Goabottala. “It seems the village has become a refuge for the infiltrators. Our officers are probing the information that Shahaji provided during interrogation,” said the intelligence official.