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BSF claims dip in illegal immigration

Silchar, Nov. 30: Illegal immigration across the Indo-Bangladesh border in the Barak valley districts of Cachar and Karimganj have sharply declined between January and November this year, senior BSF officials have said.

Anup Chandra Thapliyal, inspector-general of the BSF’s Mizoram and Cachar frontier force, today said between last January and November this year, not a single case of arrest of a Bangladeshi trying to illegally cross the border was reported. He said this was proof enough of the strict and effective vigil by the BSF.

Last year, 41 infiltrators were arrested by the BSF while trying to enter Indian territory through the international boundary in Cachar and Karimganj districts. In 2007, as many as 76 infiltrators were arrested. Thappliyal said trans-border movement of militants into Bangladesh and their return from there, however, has been continuing unhindered, and in the 11 months since January this year, 41 militants, both Bangladeshi and Indians, were arrested along this border. Thapliyal was speaking to reporters on the eve of the 47th Raising Day of the BSF tomorrow. Sources said the BSF had recently proposed to the Union home ministry to “sterilise” the 150-metre belt along the borders in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya to shift the population residing there.

This step has been initiated to curb attempts by smugglers of both the nations to smuggle cattle into Bangladesh. In 2007, 808 heads of cattle were captured while being smuggled across the borders from India into Bangladesh. Smuggling, however, has declined now with only 103 cattleheads trapped by the BSF last year. Thapliyal said 73 per cent of the civil construction work to install the concertina iron fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Cachar and Karimganj districts have so far been completed.

The distance of the two border patrolling outposts by the BSF in the two Barak districts has now been reduced to 3.5km from the earlier level of 5.5km for effective patrolling along the border.

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