Agartala: Max Willer Castillo Riva, a 33-year-old Peruvian, was caught on the night of August 28 for attempting to cross over a barbed wire fence in south Tripura’s border with Bangladesh. The story of this South American is the same as that of other foreigners, mainly from African nations, captured in Tripura over the past years.
Overstaying in India after the expiry of visa is attributed as a common cause for foreigners to undertake the risky journey to Tripura in an effort to go back home via Bangladesh. Investigations revealed that many foreigners made it to the neighbouring country with the help of ‘paid agents’, but several landed in jail.
“Tripura is no more a safe corridor for those who try to indulge in illegal cross-border intrusion. Barring a few portions, the entire stretch of the state’s 856-km boundary with Bangladesh has been fenced,” a senior police official said on Wednesday.
But he admitted that unlawful activities could not be checked in locations where fencing work remains incomplete and trespassing continues. The official was not sure if foreigners could secure documents to return to their home country, even if they are able to reach Bangladesh.
Mr. Castillo Riva, who claimed to own an online garment business and hails from the commercial hub of Tarapoto in Peru, overstayed in New Delhi after the expiry of his visa. Separated from his wife and only child, he had earlier travelled to Thailand to see his ‘girlfriend’, whom he met over a social networking site.
“He reached Agartala last week and stayed in a hotel. He reached the Rajnagar border on Sunday and at around 9 p.m., he tried to cross the fencing along pillar number 21/45 before the Border Security Force (BSF) detained him,” a local police officer told The Hindu over the phone.
Police now suspect that the Peruvian must have received guidance and logistical support from someone in Agartala to travel 70 km to the border location in south Tripura. A bag with personal belongings, two mobile phones, and $1,250, was recovered from his possession.
A court initially sent him to judicial custody, but police on Wednesday sought his remand to question him again in custody. Other security and intelligence agencies have also shown interest in interviewing Mr. Castillo Riva.