The police in western Assam’s Dhubri district on Sunday detained 27 Bangladeshi nationals, who had entered the State on a tourist visa before the COVID-19 lockdown but were found to have been working for a contractor in the eastern part.
The 27 persons, travelling on two minibuses that were seized, were caught during a routine check at Bahalpur under the Chapar police station.
The police said they were studying the travel documents of the 27 people and organising their health check-up.
Dhubri Deputy Commissioner Anant Lal Gyani said the vehicles had come from Jorhat in eastern Assam, 470 km from Chapar, on curfew passes issued in the name of a local contractor for inter-district travel.
“They said they came to Assam on a tourist visa before the lockdown, but according to the rules you cannot work with such a visa. They could not answer the questions of the police properly, but said they were keen on returning to Bangladesh,” he told The Hindu from Dhubri town.
“Right now, they are being detained. We are trying to find out whether their passports are fake or expired. Action will be taken according to the relevant law if their papers are not in order,” said District Superintendent of Police Yuvraj. Police officials investigating the case said some of the Bangladeshi nationals claimed to be involved in fishery.
‘Stuck in the State’
A Bangladeshi diplomat posted in eastern India said the Bangladeshi High Commission could arrange for their travel back home if the State government raised the issue formally.
“We have already sent back more than 40 Bangladeshi nationals. In all probability, these people were stuck in Assam, but their overstay should not be a punishable offence given the relaxation of visa terms for the lockdown,” he said.
He said the people should have informed the High Commission of their travel plan in Assam.
News Source: The Hindu