Bangladeshi nationals caught crossing India border in goods trains

Over the past two weeks, the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel have intercepted six people trying to cross the India-Bangladesh border by travelling on goods trains.

Checks were stepped up after a 12-year-old Bangladeshi boy was rescued at Petrapole from an empty goods train on June 22.

Though passenger train services remain suspended, goods trains have been allowed to run through Petrapole and Benapole, the border checkpoints on the Indian and the Bangladeshi sides respectively.

“Six Bangladeshi nationals have been apprehended by the BSF personnel in five incidents since June 20. Two of them were below 18 years of age and were being brought by human trafficking brokers to India, but were caught. Three Bangladeshi nationals were hiding in mirchi (red chilli) bags in a cargo train going to Bangladesh,” S.S. Guleria, DIG and public relations officer, South Bengal Frontier of the BSF, told The Hindu.

Mr. Guleria said three persons were intercepted when they were returning to Bangladesh. There has been a rise in illegal movement of people across the international border since the lifting of strict lockdown measures.

Meanwhile, trade between the two countries through Petrapole in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district has resumed. “Today, 250 trucks from our side and 50 trucks from Bangladesh entered either country,” Mr. Guleria said. The BSF has also increased its vigil over cattle smuggling. “Every year, incidents of animal trafficking increase along the border before Eid,” the South Bengal frontier of the BSF said in a statement.

The statement added that because of rains, the water level in the rivers flowing along the border has increased, posing challenges for the BSF. Recently, the personnel recovered a calf being smuggled across the border in a carcass in Malda district. The South Bengal Frontier of the BSF, whose jurisdiction extends from Sunderbans to Malda district, guards 913 km of the international border.

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