Illegal arrest and prosecution of Bangladeshi women in India

An India based human rights organisation named Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) based in West Bengal, India has reported that the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has detained five Bangladeshi women.  Border Security Force personnel primarily apprehended the following mentioned women while they tried to cross Indo-Bangladesh Border without holding the valid documents and thereafter they were handed over to Police of Basirhat and Swarupnagar Police Station under North 24 Parganas. The following mentioned women were produced before the concerned court (ACJM, Basirhat) and the concerned Magistrate ordered to detain them to Dumdum Central Correctional Home in connection with their respective charges denying to send them in homes. In this regard, I want to mention that two women listed as No. 1 and 2 are languishing detention with their babies in lap.

Name and other detail of the women with date:-

1.    Ms. Doli Mondal, wife of- Mr. Jaga Mondal, aged about- 25 years, Village- Barasat Kanapukur, Police Station- Barasat, District- North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India was implicated vide Swarupnagar Police Station Case No- 727/2013 dated 04.10.2013 under sections 13/14 A/ 14 C of Foreigners Act. (after enquiry, we failed to locate this address)

2.    Ms. Lilufa Bibi, wife of- Mr. Billal Sardar, aged about- 25 years, Village- Barasat Kanapukur, Police Station- Barasat, District- North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India was implicated vide Swarupnagar Police Station Case No- 727/2013 dated 04.10.2013 under sections 13/14 A/ 14 C of Foreigners Act. (after enquiry, we failed to locate this address)

3.    Ms. Farida Begam, wife of- Mr. Karamat Ali, aged about- 45 years, Village- Bhawairipur, Police Station- Keshabpur, District- Jessore, Bangladesh was implicated Basirhat Police Station Case No. 1398/2013 dated 07.11.2013 under section 14 of Foreigners Act.

4.    Ms. Asma Bibi, wife of- Mr. Kurbam Ali, aged about- 22 years, Village- Mamudpur, Police Station + District- Satkhira, Bangladesh was implicated Basirhat Police Station Case No. 1398/2013 dated 07.11.2013 under section 14 of Foreigners Act.

5.    Ms. Taslima Bibi, wife of- Mr. Kabirul, aged about- 23 years, Village- Mamudpur, Police Station + District- Satkhira, Bangladesh was implicated Basirhat Police Station Case No. 1398/2013 dated 07.11.2013 under section 14 of Foreigners Act.

MASUM has lodged several complaints on this matter.  However the Human Rights Commission of India (HRCI) till date has taken no action. MASUM shout for urgent intervention from the HRCI and urged to help to release the above-mentioned women in accordance to the office memorandum No. 14051/14/2011-F.VI of Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) Government of India dated 1st May, 2012. MASUM also urged that the role of police personnel of local police station and the concerned Magistrates must be investigated as they violated the order of Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) Government of India and take an appropriate step to repatriate them to their country- Bangladesh.

In the said memorandum (14051/14/2011-F.VI) 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.’

Unfortunately, all women victims are still (as of 03/12/13) in jail in India.

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