Border states should be vigilant against Rohingya influx -Rajnath

Rajnath Singh

Stating that worldwide border security is of top priority to the government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said multi-layered "Border Protection Grid" would be set up across the India-Bangladesh border.

After a two-hour meeting at Nabanna, the state secretariat, which, Singh described as "very fruitful" during interaction with mediapersons, the Union minister, when asked about the issue at hand, said, "West Bengal chief minister has assured me of all necessary cooperation on making land available both for setting up new BOPs as well as for raising barbed fence at the unfenced borders".

The meeting, called by the Indian home minister, would discuss the influx of Rohingya and Bangladeshi immigrants, and explore ways to check it, an Indian home ministry official said.

He admitted that of the 4096 km long Indo-Bangladesh border across the five states, only 3006 km had barbed fence, roads, floodlights and BOPs.

The Home Minister said the grid would be supervised by a State-level Standing Committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretaries of the respective States. Director General of BSF K K Sharma had last week said his troops apprehended 87 Rohingya Muslims along the Indo-Bangla border from the beginning of this year till October 31, and 76 were sent back to Bangladesh.

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The meeting was attended by Minister of State (Home Affairs) Shri Kiren Rijiju, Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Mizoram, Union Home Secretary, Secretary (Border Management), MHA, DG BSF, Chief Secretary Meghalaya, Secretary, Home, Tripura. "It has been agreed by all that we all will have to be careful of illegal immigration taking into consideration the security of the country", he said.

Three separate meetings of chief ministers of states sharing borders with Pakistan, China and Myanmar, were held earlier. According to official estimates, around 36,000 Rohingyas are now living in various parts of India.

Almost 9-10 lakh Rohingya Muslims are estimated to have migrated to Bangladesh from Myanmar due to alleged persecution by the Myanmar military and the possibility of a spillover into India can not be ruled out, he had said.

He also said that apart from the physical and non-physical barriers, the entire India-Bangladesh border would be brought under "Border Protection Grid" for fool-proof security.

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