Uttar Pradesh Police has been asked to identify Bangladeshis and ‘other foreigners’ residing in the state so that they can be deported – a move seen as an unofficial launch of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the Hindi heartland.

The direction was given by Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh to all district police chiefs.

The DGP in his letter to the district police chiefs has said that “the move was crucial for internal security”.

The deportation of unauthorised persons identified in the exercise will be “time-bound and monitored by senior officials”, the letter read according to a report in IANS.

The Uttar Pradesh police have been ordered to comb transport hubs and slum clusters on the outskirts of their districts and verify all documents produced by anyone appearing suspicious.

The police have also been asked to track down the government employees who may have helped prepare the fake documents for the “foreigners and illegal residents”.

Fingerprints of people identified as Bangladeshis or other foreigners will be taken. Focussing on a large floating population in the state, the police have told construction companies to keep records identity proofs of all labourers.

Meanwhile, talking to news agency ANI, OP Singh said that the move has nothing to do with NRC.

“Bangladeshis and foreigners who have been living here illegally will be identified and their documents will be verified. They will be deported if their documents are found to be false,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh, according to sources, has a large population of migrants from Bangladesh and Nepal, with which it shares a highly porous border.

According to reports, a sizeable section of this population is involved in drug and illegal arms trade and work as couriers.

“Identifying them and taking action against them will also improve the law and order situation. Previous governments have not acted against them due to vote bank politics,” said a senior official.

Earlier this month, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had praised the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and added that he would introduce a similar drive in his state if needed.

The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam was published on August 31, including names of 3.1 crore people and leaving out 19 lakh names.

The NRC is a list of all citizens domiciled in Assam and was updated to retain bonafide citizens within the state and evict illegal settlers, purported migrants from Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to implement the National Citizenship Register throughout the country. The ministry had issued a notification on July 31, 2019, where it mentioned that the Central government has decided to prepare and update the population register in the rest of India other than the state of Assam.