The Karnataka government has said that they want to deport Nigerian nationals who ‘overstay’ by committing petty crimes, in order to address the drug problem in the city.
Claiming that there is an ‘international network’ which is ‘dangerous for our state’, Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara said that the state government is planning to withdraw petty cases registered against Nigerian nationals and deport them.
The announcement comes just days after the death of a Nigerian national in Bengaluru. While the police claimed that he died in a road accident, there are allegations that he was killed in police custody.
The Home Minister stuck to the police version, and said, “He was a drug peddler. No one wants to identify him and he has no documents to prove his identity or his visa period. They (Nigerian nationals) come here with the pretext of studying and colleges do not verify their documents either. All colleges in Bengaluru have been directed to furnish details of the Nigerians students along with their visa periods to the respective police stations,” he added.
“There are around 850 Nigerian nationals living in Bengaluru. There have been 23 cases registered against Nigerian nationals for selling ganja and other banned drug in Bengaluru since 2015 and 31 persons have been arrested. This is an international network and is dangerous for our state,” Parameshwara told media persons.
“They come to Bengaluru to study and when their visa expires, they deliberately commit a petty crime for which they can obtain bail very easily. The police then cannot deport them till the cases are cleared. They end up staying for longer than necessary and carry out their illegal business. We expect the Ministry of External Affairs to intervene in this matter,” Parameshwara said.
The Goa government is mulling over withdrawing cases against foreign nationals for overstaying their visa and is planning to deport them, the Home Minister said, while adding that the Karnataka government would study the feasibility of implementing the same but not only for those who have overstayed their visa, but also those who have been involved in dealing drugs.
The Home Minister said that the state government has identified 48 police station limits where drug peddling is rampant including HSR Layout, Kothanur, Pulikeshi Nagar, Mico Layout, Peenya, JJ Nagar, Jayanagar and Kodigehalli.
The Minister also said that the government will amend the law as currently there is no punishment for individuals who are in possession of ganja less than 100 gm.