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Kerala’s migrant camps and how terrorists from Bengal use it to their benefit

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New Delhi, Sep 19: Three of the nine persons arrested by the National Investigation Agency in connection with an Al-Qaeda module case are from Kerala.

    Al Qaeda operatives arrested from #Kerala & #WestBengal | Oneindia News

    The NIA after receiving concrete information about the presence of an Al-Qaeda module arrested nine persons from West Bengal and Kerala. The NIA said that they were planning major attacks in the country and were in the process of procuring arms from the national capital.

    Kerala’s migrant camps and how terrorists from Bengal use it to their benefit

    The three who were arrested from Kerala are also from Bengal. They had settled among the migrant labour in the state. The Kerala police has kept a close watch on these migrant worker camps since there is a 20 lakh work force from other states which is engaged in construction, hotels and small scale units.

    In August 2019, it came to light that one Ejaz Ahmed alias Taufique Raza, the emir of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh was arrested. His team had persons outside Bengal and even set up modules in Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala. He had mainly targeted migrant labour in these places and roped several of them into the module, officials part of the investigation also said.

    A statistic of 2013 showed that there were around 2.5 million migrant workers in Kerala. Most persons were eager to take in the migrants for work as the labour costs in Kerala is too high.

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    The migrants too prefer Kerala to earn their livelihood and annually they remit around Rs 18,000 crore back to their home states in Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Each one of them is paid Rs 300 as daily wages. This again is cheaper compared to what the locals charge in Kerala.

    On March 16 2017, the Kerala police arrested seven Bangladeshi nationals employed at a plywood factory and charged them with illegal immigration. This is just one of the many cases that were reported from Kerala over the years where several lakhs of Bangladeshis live illegally.

    It becomes important to discuss the Kerala scenario in the wake of an Intelligence Bureau report stating that there would be more influx of illegal immigrants into South India after the NRC was published by the Assam government. There are already reports that suggest that the touts in Kerala are already active and would look to facilitate the entry of more such persons into the state.

    Officials say that the route into South India would be through Kerala, following which attempts would be made to infiltrate into the other southern states such as Telangana and Karnataka. They would be brought in as estate labour like has been done in the past officials say. In the midst of all this, there is also talk in Kodagu district, Karnataka, not to employe such persons until and unless they have a valid Indian citizenship document.

    Kerala has always had an issue with migrant labour. There has been a high influx of migrant population from West Bengal and this has made it easy for the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

    An official from Kerala tells OneIndia that the Bangladeshi's blend with the Bengali speaking population and there is no proper or effective mechanism to identify them.

    Officials point out that the problem becomes harder to deal with as the population is a floating one. They move from one state to another with the help of touts and this makes it even harder to keep tabs on them.

    Officials point out that the problem becomes harder to deal with as the population is a floating one. They move from one state to another with the help of touts and this makes it even harder to keep tabs on them.

    Moreover illegal immigration from Bangladesh extended up to Kerala through the migration corridor. This corridor starting at Bangladesh connects to Kerala through Assam and West Bengal. The illegal immigrants also find Kerala to be a good place to live in as it has the country's highest wage rate in the unorganised sector. Further the chances of interceptions are less in Kerala and this has made the place even more ideal to be in.

    The AAWAZ health insurance scheme too has come in handy for the illegal immigrants.

    Data with the Ministry for Home Affairs states that, Kerala has issued nearly 62,000 registration cards to migrant workers. Moreover no real effort has gone in to sort out the illegal immigrants including Rohingyas from the migrants, officials in the Home Ministry tell OneIndia.

    The IB had after the publication of the NRC had sounded an alert stating that more people from Assam could infiltrate into southern states. The respective state police have been told to keep a close watch on the borders and also track down touts who have been aiding illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The alert is particularly high in states such as Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal.

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