The arrest of seven Bangladeshi illegal immigrants from Belagavi on Saturday has exposed the mafia of immigrant agents “with some connections” and how Belagavi too is emerging as a transit point for illegal immigrants.
In fact, this would have gone unnoticed if an immigration official had not taken an extra care to check the documents of a Dubai-bound passenger. Mohammed Al-Amin Bepari, a resident of Bangladesh, was caught red-handed while he was leaving for Dubai from Pune. The immigration official Vishwas Dasharath Deshmukh while checking the documents of Bepari which said that he was the resident of Belagavi struck a conversation in Kannada. However, when he failed to respond, the officer spoke in Marathi as Marathi is predominantly spoken in Belagavi, but in vain. Raising suspicion, the officer grilled him further to know that he was Bangladeshi citizen.
During the interrogation, Bepari revealed that he wanted to earn money and bribed an agent to cross over to the Indian side. Bepari is learnt to have told the investigators that he paid Rs eight lakh to an agent Habibur in June 2016 to help him crossover to the Indian side. Later, Habibur's brother helped him reach Kolkata from there he landed in Belagavi, reports Kannada Prabha.
Here, he changed his name as Mohammed Maimun Sheikh and got a fake Aadhaar Card, birth certificate and even a passport for himself allegedly by Riyanna Kattimani, Bepari told the investigators.
Following a tip-off by Bepari, the police have picked up other illegal immigrants from Belgavi's Ramathirtha Nagar. They have been identified as - Anwar Sadar, Ajuberg, Shoufi Bepari, Hafiz Islam, Hakeeb and Abudl Gali. Apparently, they have been working at mutton shops in various parts of the city. The arrested are said to have even filed IT returns for three years.
The Malamaruti police have registered cases under the Foreigners Act of 1946 against the accused and they have been sent to judicial custody.
At a recent meeting, MP and MLAs concerned over the rise in number of Muslim votes had urged the local authorities to conduct a survey. They had suspected illegal Bangaladeshi immigrants staying in various parts of Belagavi. Belagavi - with its proximity to Pune and Mumbai - seems to be the new transit point for illegal immigrants who to go to Canada or the Middle East. The accused is said to have told the police that they wanted to earn money and it would be easier for them to get Visa if they were Indian citizens.