In May, 26 Bangladeshis were accused and charged under the Foreigner’s Act, 1946 in India, as they were unable to leave amid the Covid-19 lockdown
A Bangladeshi national, stuck in India due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has died in Assam police custody.
Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner to India Tanveer Rasul confirmed the matter on Wednesday, according to a press release from West Bengal-based human rights organization Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM).
Bakul Mian, son of Omar Sarkar, died in the jail custody in Dhubri, Assam.
MASUM Secretary Kirity Roy sent a letter to the chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India to take action regarding the matter.
Roy said: “I want to say that this incident is a clear case of custodial death and it has happened just because of the negligence of the administration.
“I called the Superintendent of Police of Dhubri and Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate of Dhubri to follow the mandatory rule as laid down by the Criminal Procedure code 1993 i.e. Sec 176/1/A. SP Dhubri informed me that he [Bakul] died in hospital, not in custody, due to heart failure as stated by the attending doctor,” she added.
She urged the Indian human rights body to follow Section 176/1/A of the Indian CrPC, saying the inquest should be done by the judicial magistrate, as it was a custodial death and that the NHRC guidelines for the custodial death should be followed in true spirit.
The letter further demanded that the guideline of Minnesota Protocol be followed.
On May 18, Roy lodged a complaint with the Indian NHRC that 26 Bangladeshi nationals had been accused and charged with Section 14 of the Foreigner’s Act, 1946 and arrested by the Chapor police station in Dhubri district, Assam.
“The complaint was registered vide NHRC case number- 79/3/4/2020 dated 22.05.2020. But till date no action has been taken. (as shown in NHRC website) I mentioned in my previous complaint that these Bangladeshi nationals were not criminals,” she said.
All of them had valid passports and they came to India with proper visa documents for the tenure of three months. But due to Covid-19 pandemic situation, a nationwide lockdown was imposed from March 25 and they could not leave in due time, Roy said in the letter.
“During the lockdown they could not manage any transport to reach Changrabandha port from where they have to return back. Therefore they tried to reach the Changrabandha check post as soon as possible in order to cross the check post and go back to their home in Bangladesh but could not make it.”
The Bangladesh nationals were placed in jail custody by the order from First Judicial Magistrate Court of Bilasipara, Dhubri, the letter mentioned.