The Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) recently received the crucial intelligence regarding a new modus operandi of illegal Bangladeshi nationals who are obtaining Indian passports through fraudulent means with the aim of seeking asylum in European countries.
According to the FRRO they have come across cases where illegal Bangladeshis pose as Buddhists to acquire Indian passports fraudulently. They then travel to European countries and, upon reaching European soil, destroy their Indian passports and Indian identities and reveal their true Bangladeshi identity to seek asylum in Europe.
Speaking with FPJ DCP FRRO Niyati Thaker Dave, confirmed that they have identified cases related to this, which have been registered at Sahar police station. The FRRO has identified these cases and shared the information with the nodal authority responsible for investigating these matters.
Bangladesh's policy of Islamization
In the name of anonymity the high ranking officer shared that the modus operandi involving illegal Bangladeshi individuals posing as Buddhists to obtain Indian passports for travel and seeking asylum in Europe is rooted in social issues stemming from Bangladesh's policy of Islamization. The individuals suspected of being illegal travelers are primarily from the chakma tribal community, which has faced rejection and exclusion from Bangladesh as Bangladeshi citizens. They are being treated as Second class citizens on the line of Muhajirs in Pakistan.
Chittagong Hill Tracts
In 80s, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) witnessed significant and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by Bangladeshi armed forces and Muslim settlers. Indigenous people experienced horrifying acts such as murder, mutilation, rape, torture, imprisonment, and dispossession of their homes and livelihoods. They were denied basic civil and political rights, and their status as Bangladeshi citizens was not recognized; instead, they were considered refugee Buddhist tribals. The chakma refugees have been fleeing Bangladesh due to the terror inflicted by the actions of the Bangladesh Army.
Presently, a substantial number of the Chakma and Hajong communities reside in the western border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura. They continue to live in challenging conditions, often exposed to the elements. This issue has persisted for several years. And their primary motivation is to secure a better life for themselves and their families, which has led them to adopt the modus operandi of seeking asylum in European countries in search of green pasture.
Indian passports at par with US's
As the diplomatic relation of India is growing from strength to strength the Indian passports hold global recognition similar to U.S. passports. This has eased the Indian citizens to travel to European countries for various purposes, such as education, employment, and leisure.
It's a well-known fact that Buddhists residing in Bangladesh are well aware of this, but it's important to note that other Asian countries often have passports with lower global acceptance, subject to close scrutiny by European authorities while applying for visas.
Chakma Bangladeshi migrants exploit this to their potential by acquiring Indian passports, often by posing as real Buddhist religious followers. They use these passports to travel to European countries like Spain, London, Sweden, France, and others. Upon reaching European soil, they often destroy their Indian passports in pursuit of asylum on the ground of current threat to their tribe .Their hope is to secure employment opportunities and eventual citizenship in the host country, with the aspiration that their future generations will be recognized as European citizens.
A Few days back Maharashtra ATS arrested an 40-year-old Palash Bipan Barua, a Bangladeshi in Nagpur, where he was found residing illegally for more than a decade - initially as a Buddhist monk and then as a gym trainer - and also operating a racket to help people from his country obtain the Indian passports fraudulently. ATS unearthed Barua's illegal activities when two Bangladeshi nationals, Maitri Barua and Ankon Barua, were apprehended at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad while trying to board flights to foreign countries using fraudulently Indian passport.