The Uttar Pradesh police will soon launch a drive to identify undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh and other foreign countries in an attempt to strengthen internal security, PTI reported on Tuesday.

In a circular issued to all district units on Monday, Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh said it had come to his notice that many Bangladeshis were living illegally in the state and that some of them had gone missing. “In the present scenario, to strengthen the state’s internal security, it is necessary to identify and verify Bangladeshis and other foreigners residing in the state,” the letter said.

Singh told them to identify locations where Bangladeshis and other foreigners could seek refuge, such as railway stations, bus stops, slums and other roadside locations. The people living in such areas should be verified, the letter said, adding that the entire exercise must be videographed.

“If during the probe people claim that they belong to another district or state, this should be verified,” the letter said. “It should also be probed what documents, like ration cards, voter ID cards, driving licences and passports, they have procured to legalise their stay.”

The circular was seen as Uttar Pradesh’s version of Assam’s National Register of Citizens, which last month excluded 19 lakh people from the final list. They could be deported if they cannot prove their citizenship.

But OP Singh dismissed reports that his circular was connected to the National Register of Ctizens. “It has nothing to do with NRC. Bangladeshis and foreigners who’ve been living here illegally will be identified and their documents will be verified,” he told ANI. “They will be deported if their documents are found to be false.”

On September 16, Adityanath had said that his government was not averse to implementing the National Register of Citizens in the state in a phased manner. He had also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah implementing NRC in Assam.

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