Tejasvi Surya, the Member of Parliament from Bengaluru South, Karnataka on Wednesday raised the issue of '40,000 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants residing in the state' and asked the Centre and Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene and bring the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state of Karnataka and its capital Bengaluru. He said the Centre should implement the NRC in the state "to weed out" the illegal immigrants are not only a security threat but also a threat to locals as they compete for jobs.
"The matter of national and internal security threat faced by my state Karnataka and my city Bengaluru due to the influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Sir, the state government and the honourable chief minister last year had said that there are more 40,000 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who have now taken up jobs illegally, procuring Aadhar card, Voter ID cards through the state government and authority. I request the honourable Central government and Home Minister to immediately address the issue. They are a security threat. They are also trying to change the demographics of Karnataka. They are also a very serious economic threat to people, the locals of the state whether the cab drivers, whether hotel workers, whether garbage collection mafia. Yesterday, a senior employee of a private company Ola was arrested. It came to light that he was an illegal Bangladeshi immigrant. I call upon the Central government to extend the NRC to Karnataka as well as Bengaluru to weed out these Bangladeshis in the country because since the extension of NRC in the northeast of the country these illegal immigrants are taking refuge in different parts of the country..." he said in the Lok Sabha.
On Tuesday, as per reports, the NIA busted a sleeper cell belonging to the module of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in Karnataka and found hand grenades and raw material for making IEDs
Interestingly, the demand for a detention of illegal immigrants is not new. The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, confirmed it on July 2 in a written response to a pointed query by BJP Lok Sabha MP from the Bangalore Central constituency, PC Mohan, on whether the state of Karnataka was establishing any detention centre to hold ‘illegal immigrants’. He said that the state government “has informed (the Centre) that they are in the process of establishing a detention/holding centre”.
Minister of state for home affairs, Nityanand Rai had admitted that While Karnataka government has no accurate data on the number of ‘illegal immigrants’ residing in India as they enter “in a clandestine and surreptitious manner”. He had quoted the information from the MHA from the Karnataka government to say that, “143 cases have been registered against illegal Bangladeshi nationals” in the state and “144 illegal Bangladeshi nationals have been deported” from the state.
Many probes in the matter have shown that touts facilitate the entry of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and charge them anywhere from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. Several have taken up work as labourers including painters, construction workers, carpentary, there are many who indulge criminal activities such as counterfeit currency, robbery and peddling cheap drugs. The National Investigation Agency has traced several fake currency cases between Bangladesh-Bengal and South India. This is a route that has been used on several occasions and several probes by the NIA detail the modus operandi.
On November 22 2016, G Parameshwar who Home Minister then (the currently Deputy CM) had said that there were 283 Bangladeshi migrants from the state.replied to question raised by Sunil Kumar V (BJP) saying that there were 748 Bangaladeshis in the state out of which 248 are illegally here as per Foreigners Act, 1946. To detect illegal migrants, Special Task Force had been constituted at district and city levels, and local police asked to maintain a vigil and find out about such migrants in their respective jurisdictional area, he added. A total of 283 illegal Bangladeshi migrants are in the state, they include 16 in Mandya, one in Dakshina Kannada, three in KGF, 11 in Ramanagara, 13 in Mysuru district, one in Chikkamagaluru, 14 in Bengaluru district, 25 in Mysuru urban, 197 in Bengaluru urban and two in Shivamogga. BJP's Kumar rejected the numbers and said it looked like the government was trying to protect the illegal migrants, he had said then.
But in 2015, HD Kumaraswamy (now CM) had claimed that there are 40,000 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in Karnataka. In a letter that he wrote in the month of April that year, he had told the then Home Minister, KJ George that several illegal Bangladeshi immigrants had taken-up residence in almost all parts of the state.
Back in 2008, the late Dr. V S Acharya, who was the home minister then appealed to the union government to introduce a national personal identification registrar for identifying foreigners who lived in the state after the expiry of their visas. At that time too it was said that 8 per cent of the approximate 2 crore illegal immigrants were in Karnataka.