Physically disabled helping smugglers across India-Nepal border

January 12th, 2009 - 9:42 pm ICT by ANI  

By Pawan Kumar Shah
Gorakhpur, Jan.12: (ANI): Trade routes between India and Nepal, which pass through the north Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are misused by smugglers who employ physically disabled persons.
Many people from both the sides of the border are involved in smuggling of rice, wheat and other cereals along the 400-km-long border between Uttar Pradesh and Nepal.
Mafia of smugglers have roped in several such physically challenged persons as carriers of illegal merchandise across the border since such persons escape from being frisked at the checkpoints in Uttar Pradesh and also West Bengal.
Smuggling mafia that had traditionally traded in narcotics and arms and ammunition in the past, is now using these disabled persons to carry large quantities of sugar, cement, fertilisers and gas cylinders from India into Nepal following soaring prices of these items in the Himalayan nation.
Smuggled articles are stocked in border areas in India before being smuggled to the other side on tricycles rode, by physically challenged smugglers.
“I met with an accident few years ago. Since then I have become physically challenged. I took up this profession because I have to take care of my family. There are almost 20-25 physically challenged persons engaged in this profession. We usually carry sugar and cement with us, we never carry any forbidden products with us,” said Mohammed Ali, a physically challenged carrier.
The problem is that usually these people are looked upon with sympathy and thus jawans of SSB (Sahastra Seema Bal), the para military force meant to guard the Indo-Nepal border, are not stern against with such people.
“These physically challenged people are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. There is a box under their tricycle and usually they carry sugar, fertilizers and gas cylinders with them to Nepal,” said S. K.Singh, Assistant Commandant, Sahastra Seema Bal.
Singh further said that these physically challenged smugglers are about 100 in number, and the number is on the increase.
These physically challenged persons are forced to take to smuggling, as they dont have any alternate source of income. (ANI)

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