NEW DELHI: Nuh and Mewat areas of Haryana are among the two dozen cities and towns across 10 states where human smugglers have settled thousands of Rohingya Muslims after helping them enter India illegally from Bangladesh, according to investigations by security agencies and inputs on traffickers received from the Interpol.

The questioning of 74 Rohingyas arrested during raids by security agencies has also confirmed the activities of human smugglers who collect thousands to lakhs of rupees from illegal entrants into India. The NIA has booked 44 human smugglers active in Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai and Guwahati and seized over 200 Aadhaar and PAN cards that were used for giving Indian identities to Rohingyas who entered India illegally.

The human smugglers collect a hefty amount from Rohingyas, help them cross the border, acquire Indian identity and purchase property in Muslim-dominated areas.

The illegal settlement of Rohingyas has been allegedly prevalent in cities such as Aligarh, Mathura, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh; Bengaluru, Mangalore, Gulbarga and Kalaburagi in Karnataka; Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia in West Bengal; Jaipur, Jodhpur and Alwar in Rajasthan and other southern cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Puducherry.

According to a report by UNHCR, nearly 20,000 Rohingyas were living in shelter homes till February 2021 in the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. Security agencies say after 2021 there has been a spurt in the illegal entry of Rohingyas into the country.

During investigation it came to light that most traffickers got fake identity cards made for the Rohingyas. For this purpose, the traffickers used names and addresses of those Indians who are either missing or dead. The serial numbers of these people were identified and the data of the Rohingyas was fed into the system under the guise of updating Aadhaar.

NIA investigations in the case revealed that different modules of this illegal human trafficking network were spread over various states, including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir and operating from there. In response to these probe findings, the NIA registered three new cases

During coordinated raids by the NIA in various locations investigators recovered digital devices, such as mobile phones, SIM cards, and pen drives. A large number of identity-related documents, including Aadhar cards and PAN cards, suspected to be forged, were also recovered. Indian currency notes with a total value exceeding Rs 20 lakh and foreign currency amounting to $4,550 were also seized.

Investigations have revealed that the illegal trafficking of Rohingyas has assumed the proportion of organized crime syndicates in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The initial case related to trafficking of Rohingyas was registered in September 2023 by the Assam Police’s Special Task Force (STF). The case pertained to a human smuggling and trafficking network responsible for the infiltration and settlement of illegal migrants across the Indo-Bangladesh border, including those of Rohingya origin. The network’s presence was detected in states like Tripura, Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry.

The operations of this network extended into various parts of the country, including regions along the Indo-Bangladesh international border. In view of the international and inter-state linkages of the case and its complexity, the NIA formally took charge of the investigations in October by registering a case at the NIA police station in Guwahati.