Sparked by the Dingucha tragedy—where a family of four hailing from the village of Dingucha froze to death while attempting to illegally enter the US via the Canadian border—Gujarat has upped the ante in its battle against human smuggling rackets. The state police and central agencies have identified at least 11 spots in north Gujarat that are epicentres of illegal immigration.
These places have been identified as Dingucha, Khalva, Nardipur, and Limdivas in Kalol taluka of Gandhinagar district and Vijapur, Andudar, Tundali, Bhadol, and Dhanali in Mehsana district. Ahmedabad’s Sola Science City Road and Bhadaj also figure on the list.
An officer close to the investigation said, “We arrested some human smugglers and are keeping a close eye on others. Recently, we raided the office run by a man and his two sons in Delhi Darwaza and retrieved evidence that they had forged government-certified documents necessary to obtain passports and visas. They catered to nearly 1,000 people who went to the US illegally over four years. The authorities have culled a list of families who have attempted to, or are suspected of being in transit, to the US by any means.”
The officer said, “These 11 places often come under the radar when any offence related to illegal immigration is detected either in the state, at Mumbai and Delhi airports, or even in foreign countries. There are many human smugglers working in these areas.”
Jagdish Patel, 35, his wife, Vaishali, 33, and their children Vihanga, 12, and Dharmik, 3, froze to death just 12 m from the US border on January 19, this year. Their deaths forced agencies in the US and Canada to reach out to Gujarat police for better coordination in stemming illegal immigration from the state.