There has been an increase in the outflow of Bangladeshi migrants from India after the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed, the Border Security Force said on Friday, PTI reported. A top official of the paramilitary force said there has also been a rise in the number of undocumented migrants apprehended during the period.

Border Security Force Inspector General (South Bengal Frontier) YB Khurania said the outflow has been highest through the border in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. “In January alone, we have apprehended 268 illegal Bangladeshi migrants, most of who were trying to sneak into the neighbouring country,” Khurania said.

Another Border Security Force official said that most of those leaving worked as masons, maids and housekeepers in parts of India. “They were based mostly in Bengaluru and North India,” he said. “Some were involved in paltry jobs such as masons, maids, housekeepers and sweepers.”

The official said that in 2019, the Border Security Force apprehended 2,194 Bangladeshis, but they were trying to “sneak” into India, not out of the country. On the other hand, since December last year, the outflow of Bangladeshis has increased, he added.

Meanwhile, the Border Security Force has also proposed that border villages in Tripura be shifted inward, Northeast Now reported on Friday. There are many villages in Tripura that lie beyond the international border fencing, making them vulnerable from a security perspective, the paramilitary force feels.

Border Security Force Director General Vivek Kumar Johri discussed the matter during a meeting with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb in Agartala recently, the newspaper said. The paramilitary force is of the view that these villages are not safe because they enable continuous to and fro travel from Bangladesh.

The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.