Exclusive: Inside the migrant-smuggling cartel in West Bengal

With reported circumstances of infiltration alongside the Bangladesh border down due to stringent measures, folks smugglers on each side appear to be working in tandem to sneak unlawful migrants in via much less secured routes, an India At this time TV investigation has discovered.

India’s multi-pronged method involving hi-tech surveillance, new remark posts, intense patrolling, fencing, and floodlighting has led to a drop in the variety of arrests of unlawful Bangladeshi infiltrators from 3,426 in 2015 to 1,351 in 2019, in line with the house ministry.

Greater than 5,900 infiltrators have been deported to Bangladesh six years in the past. Their quantity got here right down to 2,175 in 2019, official figures present.

BSF maintains a decent vigil at India-Bangladesh border | File picture from Getty Photographs


However an India At this time TV investigation has discovered human smugglers doubling as cash changers in poll-bound West Bengal, bringing unlawful migrants by way of comparatively weak defences alongside the worldwide border.

Banka, who operated Sabhar Enterprise money-changing facility at the Petrapole built-in verify put up, about 80 km from Kolkata, solicited Rs 15,000 per head to facilitate unlawful migration into India.

He confessed that folks smugglers now work extra intently on each side of the Indo-Bangladesh border.

“Earlier folks used to cross for Rs 3,000, 4,000, 8,000, 10,000. Now that has gone as much as Rs 15,000, 16,000, 17,000. Persons are demanding per their want,” he informed India At this time TV’s investigative reporter.

He hinted that the ring additionally organised cast IDs of each international locations to assist free migrants in the occasion of potential arrests by border guards on both aspect.

“If they’re caught in Bangladesh, then a Bangladeshi tackle is required and in the event that they get caught in India, then an Indian tackle is required. Then it turns into simpler to free them,” Banka mentioned.

The operation, he mentioned, takes place after it will get darkish via routes like Maslandapur, Hanskhali, and Bangaon in West Bengal.

“It prices Rs 15,000 (per head). We’ve folks over there. I’ll discuss over the cellphone. Does your man have a Bangla (Bangladeshi) quantity?” he requested India At this time TV’s undercover reporter. “Give that quantity to us, I’ll make him perceive. They will come from that aspect, from the Maslandapur aspect and from the Hanskhali aspect as effectively. They are going to come from the line the place the situation is sweet.”

Simply 50 meters from the border, one other cash changer, Madhab Saha, assured to smuggle Bangladeshi migrants if paid Rs 18,000 per individual.

“There is a 200 per cent assure (to convey them in),” he supplied. You’ll pay me 18,000 Indian rupees. It’s a 200 per cent assure. You’ll give cash and your job will probably be performed.”

Saha confessed that his community smuggles three to 4 folks each week.

At Basirhat, barely 5 kilometers from the border, Viswanath admitted that he was additionally concerned in human-smuggling operations.

The person supplied a less expensive deal of Rs 8,000 per head to convey unlawful migrants into India from Bangladesh.

“It is a matter between the borders. He (the unlawful migrant) will come comfortably. Typically there may be issues. However no want to fret. He’ll come comfortably. My home is right here,” Viswanath mentioned.


The human smuggler recognized Satkhira in southwestern Bangladesh as the location for potential unlawful migrants to assemble earlier than continuing in the direction of India.

“He’ll meet them (my males) at Satkhira and dropped at the border, which will probably be crossed when it is darkish,” Viswanath mentioned. It’ll value 8,000 (rupees) for every individual.”


The United Nations Workplace on Medication and Crime categorises migrant smuggling as a lethal however more and more enticing enterprise globally.

“Migrant smugglers”, it notes, “consistently change routes and modus operandi in response to modified circumstances usually at the expense of the security of the smuggled migrants.”

Extremely-sophisticated and costly providers depend on doc fraud or “visa-smuggling”, the UNODC says. Contrasted with these are low-cost strategies which regularly pose excessive dangers for migrants, and have result in a dramatic improve in lack of life in latest years, it says.

The UN physique underscores the want for better coordination throughout and between areas and for the adaptability to new strategies in order to deal with the worldwide crime higher.

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