New Found Vote Bank? AAP MLA Accused of Helping Illegal Bangladeshis Get Voter Cards In  South DelhiAAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. (Picture for representation) (Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Naresh Yadav, an Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker, has been accused of facilitating a voter registration drive of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in New Delhi, reported Hindustan Times. A complaint regarding this has been lodged in Vasant Kunj (South) police station.

The complaint was lodged by Sangeeta Sharma, a social worker and convener of Residents Welfare Association of Sahyog Apartments in Vasant Kunj. In a video recorded by Sharma for social media, she has said that she received a complaint about a voter registration drive being carried out at a municipal corporation-run school in Masoodpur in which voter identity cards were being made for illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from Jai Hind Camp, a slum in Vasant Kunj.

Sharma then informed the police, and station house officers from both Vasant Kunj North and South police stations reportedly reached the spot with force and stopped the registration drive. Hari Singh, a man claiming to be Naresh Yadav’s aide, was found there facilitating the drive.

Following this, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lashed out at Aam Aadmi Party terming this a ‘cheap attempt’ to garner support ahead of general elections next year. Manoj Tiwari, Delhi BJP president, said, “The AAP should first think about our own peo­ple in­stead of sup­port­ing these il­le­gal im­mi­grants. They are anti-so­cial el­e­ments and in­dulge in crimes and take away jobs meant for lo­cals.”

Naresh Yadav responded by saying that the AAP government was only interested in improving the liv­ing condition of slum dwellers. The party further said that if any Bangladeshi immigrants managed to get themselves illegally registered, then it was a mat­ter for the po­lice to inves­ti­gate.

A resident of Jai Hind Camp told Hindustan Times that he had been living there since 2001 and most of the residents were from West Bengal. It is, however, common for Bangladeshis to pass off as Indian Bengalis because of cultural similarities.

While the AAP and the opposition BJP spar over the issue of illegal immigrants in the capital, the issue persists. The Delhi Police believes that there are around four lakh illegal Bangladeshis in the capital, who are caught every now-and-then with identification documents, which they procure for as low as Rs 2,000. Many of those nabbed are found to be engaged in criminal activities. As recently as in August, the police nabbed a ‘Bangladeshi gang’ involved in over a hundred robberies. Another gang operating since 1994 and evading arrest ever since was also caught. The gang’s leader was found in possession of a voter ID and Aadhaar card.

While the Special Cell of Delhi Police along with other agencies remains on the lookout of illegal immigrants in Delhi engaged in criminal activities, the so-named ‘Bangladeshi Cells’ were shut down six years ago.

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