7 minor Bangladeshi boys still waiting to return home

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international NGO, said that seven minor boys from Bangladesh who were detained in West Bengal’s juvenile home and have completed their sentences are still waiting for repatriation.

Letters to all departments and organisations concerned have also been sent there was no considerable response.

“The local NGO Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) has identified seven children and informed that they were arrested and charged under different sections of Foreigner’s Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

They have completed their sentences months ago and in one case more than one year. But till date they are detained in the juvenile home which is violation of their rights,” said Aditi Datta, media and communications officer, CHRI.

Accodring to CHRI members letters have been sent to the Juvenile Justice Board, Department of Women and Children (west bengal), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), National and State Human Rights Commission (NHRC and SHRC) and the Bangladesh High Commission in India to take quick action.

“Though the Bangladesh High Commission has responded that they would look into the case, there has been no response from the Indian government,” said Datta.

CHRI member based in West Bengal, Madurima said a newspaper contacted Bangladesh High Commission recently and was told that five out of the seven cases have been verified. “We got information that there are more than seven such cases where children have completed their terms and are waiting to be repatriated. There are around 300 Bangladeshi adults in Indian jails in similar circumstances,” said Madhurima.

She said the primary reason for such delays is ‘red tape in documents verification’. “There are no homes where people awaiting repatriation can be sent to,” she said.

Majorly children were arrested while crossing the border, Madhurima said. “A new trend is being witnessed, children are being used for smuggling things like spices and cattle. Infact one of the seven boys was arrested while smuggling. As compared to adults, punishment if caught is less strict for juveniles,” she said.

“Through smuggling they are being paid heavily. Parents also push children in this due to extreme financial conditions,” she added.

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