By Shuriah Niazi
NEW DELHI, India (AA) - Police in northern India decided to identify Bangladeshi and other foreign nationals "living illegally" for their deportation, according to media reports.
A police circular, reportedly released among police in Uttar Pradesh state, said the move was important for the state's "internal security" and should be taken in "all seriousness", reported Chennai-based daily the Hindu.
The circular alleges that in some districts, Bangladeshis were living illegally, with some even going "underground," said the report.
Local police, however, told the media later that the exercise was "routine", and that similar initiatives had been carried out in past years. "It has nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens," the Press Trust of India quoted police chief OP Singh.
Places like railway stations, bus stations, new colonies and roadside locations where Bangladeshis and other foreign nationals seek shelter should be identified, said the circular.
"It should also be probed what documents, like ration cards, voter ID cards, driving licences and passports, they procured to legalise their stay," Singh said.
Police should then begin the process of canceling documents obtained by illegal migrants, the letter advised.
It said fingerprints of Bangladeshis and other foreigners staying illegally should be lifted and sent to the state's fingerprints bureau.
In the northeastern state of Assam, a seven-year exercise was recently concluded, in which residents had to prove their Indian citizenship. Right-wing leaders say a similar exercise should be repeated in whole country.
In Assam, the exercise called the National Register of Citizens has declared almost two million people as non-citizens.