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No Rohingya infiltration in North Bengal, says BSF

It is learnt that the North Bengal Frontier BSF has apprehended 167 smugglers since January 2021. Of them, 97 have been identified as Indians. During the same period, 4167 cattle heads were seized by the BSF, with their estimated value at Rs 6,33,12,530.

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

At a time when the BJP leadership, including Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla, has been claiming that several Rohingya people have settled down in north Bengal, Inspector General of the Border Security Force (BSF), North Bengal Frontier, Ravi Gandhi, today said there was no report on any infiltration of Rohingya people in areas under their jurisdiction.

“We have not found any case of infiltration of Rohingya people along the 936-km-long International border under the North Bengal Frontier,” Mr Gandhi said. Mr Gandhi, who took charge of the NB Frontier here recently, was interacting with the media at the Frontier Headquarters at Kadamtala here today.

According to Mr Gandhi, a 110-km stretch was unfenced out of the 936 km Indo-Bangladesh border. Notably, the BJP leadership, including even Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his last Assembly election campaigning in Cooch Behar had pointed out the issue of infiltration through the unfenced border in the region.

Recently, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nisith Pramanik also pointed out land acquisition problems when it came to the fencing of the unfenced area during his South Dinajpur visit, while other MPs and ministers have raised the question of national security in connection with the ‘Chicken Neck’ region in north Bengal.

Parties opposed to the Trinamul Congress have also made similar claims and said that authorities concerned had to set up the Malda Frontier, but it had to shift to other places owing to lack of land after the Trinamul Congress came to power in the state in 2011.

During interaction with the media, Mr Gandhi said: “Land acquisition is a lengthy process. We keep monitoring the matter with the district administration almost every day. We are getting cooperation from the district administration. I am sure the issue will be resolved.”

Mr Gandhi stressed the need to improve border security and its management for national security, taking local people into confidence, and by implementing various central government’s schemes, including border area development, to check border crime and other anti-national activities.

Besides joint raids with the local police to check border crime in Indian territory, the BSF maintains coordination with the Board Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on a regular basis and even goes on border patrolling jointly for better border management between the two countries, the IG added.

It is learnt that the North Bengal Frontier BSF has apprehended 167 smugglers since January 2021. Of them, 97 have been identified as Indians. During the same period, 4167 cattle heads were seized by the BSF, with their estimated
value at Rs 6,33,12,530. Similarly, the troops seized phensedyl cough syrup worth Rs 78,95,425, ganja worth Rs 25,50,000 and yaba tablets worth Rs 37,000 as they were being smuggled to Bangladesh during the same period.

The BSF also seized gold and silver amounting to Rs 24,05,052, it is learnt. Very interestingly, snake venom worth Rs 24 crore was also seized in the past eight months. The estimated cost of other miscellaneous items seized stood at around Rs 1.48 crore, BSF officials said today