Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), a west Bengal-based human rights organisation, has alleged that at least 36 Bangladeshi children have been illegally detained in India.
In a complaint issued on Thursday, MASUM Secretary Kirity Roy said the children were illegally detained in “Subhayan”: Balurghat Observation Home in South Dinajpur, West Bengal.
The complaint said: “These children are Bangladeshi nationals and they are not repatriated to their home country though the criminal cases launched against them under the Indian Law are already disposed of.”
He said thirteen children were suffering indefinite period of detention in the said observation home without any justification.
They are Swapan Roy, Md Rubel, Nurul Islam, Md Elias, Goutam Roy, Amrita Roy, Ajijul Islam, Md Sohel Rana, Mijanur Rahman, Sujan Ali, Ariful Islam, Md Alamin and Badsa Haque.
Besides, four other Bangladeshi children –Md Atikul, Md Sarif. Mokidul Islam and Md Sujan– have been detained in Balurghat Observation Home under the category “Undertrial.”
According to the information obtained by MASUM, these children are victims of human trafficking but they were not repatriated to their home country.
In addition, they were tagged into criminal case for coming to India without any valid papers.
“This act of the concerned authorities in launching prosecution against them is against the standing instruction of the office memorandum No. 14051/14/2011-F.VI of Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) Government of India Dated 1st May, 2012,” said the complaint.
In this memorandum it has been clearly stated that “(IV) it is seen that in general, the foreign victims of human trafficking are found without valid passport or visa. If, after investigation, the woman or child is found to be a victim, she should not be prosecuted under the Foreigners Act. If the investigation reveals that she did not come to India or did not indulge in crime out of her own free will, the State Government / UT Administration may not file a charge sheet against the victim.
If the charge sheet has already been filed under the Foreigners Act and other relevant laws of the land, steps may be taken to withdraw the case from prosecution so far as the victim is concerned. Immediate action may be taken to furnish the details of such victims to the Ministry of External Affairs (Consular Division), Patiala House, New Delhi so as to ensure that the person concerned is repatriated to the country of her origin through diplomatic channels” and (v) During the interim period, pending repatriation, the victim may be taken care of in an appropriate children’s home, or “Ujjawala” home or appropriate shelter home either of the State Government concerned or of any NGO aided by the Government of India / State Government.’
Kirity Roy said: “Now I want to further mention that the following children being Bangladeshi nationals are also detained in the “Subhayan”: Balurghat Observation Home for last several years and their status in the home are “children in need of care and protection (CNCP).”
Among those children one is Ramjan Haque alias Ramjan. He is only aged about 6 years. His date of admission in the said home is 9.11.2009. Since then he has been staying in the said home without being sending to his home in Bangladesh.
Enamul Haque, aged about-10 years has been staying in the said home on and from 21.07.2014 without being repatriated to his home in Bangladesh.
Likewise the following Bangladeshi children with the status “CNCP” are detained in the said home for last several months without being repatriated to their home land till date.
They are Md Momen, Md Ashim, Md Janarul Islam, Md Sohel Rana, Golam Mustafa, Md Jubayar, Md Sohan Sekh, Md Dulal Ali, Md Raju Islam, Srikrishna Nath Toppo, Krishna Toppo, Sadin Hossain, Rabi Alam, Md Juned Pathan, Elias Ali Badsa, Rafi Seikh and Najmul Haque.
MASUM suggested that one the whole matter should be investigated by one neutral investigating agency preferably by the National Human Rights Commission’s own investigating wing and the victims must immediately be repatriated to their residence in Bangladesh.
The concerned officials involved in this case must be punished accordingly for their insensitive approach leading to the indefinite detention of the victim which can not be compensated in any manner, it said.
It also demanded that the children and women of foreign nationals serving illegal detention must be repatriated to their home country immediately.