GUWAHATI: A complaint lodged by a train passenger with a toll-free number led railway officials to 14 suspected Rohingya refugees.
The persons, arrested from a train at New Jalpaiguri station of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), had apparently fled a refugee camp in Bangladesh. They had boarded the train in Assam’s Badarpur.
“Indian Railway’s toll-free security helpline No 182 proved to be very effective, leading to the arrest of 14 foreign nationals who entered India illegally and were undertaking journey by train,” the NFR said in a statement on Thursday.
On November 24, the Alipurduar security control of Railway Protection Force (RPF) had received a call on the toll-free number from a train passenger who alleged misbehaviour by some fellow travellers in the Agartala-New Delhi Special Rajdhani Express. Subsequently, it informed its counterpart in New Jalpaiguri, the train’s next scheduled stop.
“The officers and the staff of RPF and GRP (Government Railway Police) from New Jalpaiguri immediately got ready to check the train after its arrival at New Jalpaiguri. During checking, 14 passengers were detected by the train superintendent who found no legal Indian documents or identity cards in their possession. An investigation revealed their tickets were generated in the name of others,” the statement said.
Later, all of them were de-trained. During interrogation, it was found that all of them had fled a “refugee camp” in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar and entered India illegally. The railway authorities registered a case and produced the persons in a local court which sent them to judicial custody.
Hundreds and thousands of people belonging to the Rohingya community had fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in 2015 in the wake of an alleged offensive against them, allegedly by Myanmar Army.