The latest has come from the BJP-ruled government in Karnataka which dispatched 59 Bangladeshi migrants, including 25 women and 10 children.
Kolkata: At a time when West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is fighting the Narendra Modi government tooth and nail against its implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country, the state has started witnessing a peculiar practice: the deportation of Bangladeshi migrants, detained from across the country, to their homeland in what the human rights activists call “Push-Back” style over the Indo-Bangla border.
The latest has come from the BJP-ruled government in Karnataka which dispatched 59 Bangladeshi migrants, including 25 women and 10 children, who were detained for allegedly having no documents, in a train from Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh to Howrah railway station in Kolkata on November 23, a day after Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s meeting with the Trinamul Congress supremo in the city on the sidelines of the inauguration of a Test Cricket match between the two countries.
According to sources, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, Bengaluru, had issued the deportation order for the 59 people to Bangladesh so that they can be sent back home with the help of the West Bengal Police and the Border Security Force (BSF). Alleging human rights violation, a group of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) activists demonstrated at the station as the Bengaluru City Police team handed over the Bangladeshi migrants to a Howrah government railway police team.
APDR vice president Ranjit Sur told this newspaper, “Most the 59 people have been accommodated at a state government building for the self-help groups near the Nischinda police station in Howrah. They have been have been living in pathetic condition. They are forced to sleep on the floors. There are no warm clothes, food or medicines for them.”
He elaborated, “But the cops did not entertain us. Addressing the CM, we submitted a deputation on Tuesday to the Block Development Officer of Jagachha, in charge of taking care of them. Our objection is against the authority which identifies these people on the mere basis of their claim. There should be a legal process which determines a person’s nationality. If the person claims to be from Bangladesh, repatriation can be made consulting the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission here.”
Mr Sur underlined, “But there is no certainty when these people would be set free. One of 59 people is Kamal Mistry from Nadia where his son also lives. He perhaps had his home in Bangladesh in the past. But he is not agreed to return to Bangladesh. When his son wanted to receive his father, he was threatened to be sent to Bangladesh also. The entire process exposes the government’s severe inhumanity, injustice and autocracy.”
First Secretary (Press) of the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata Mohammed Mofakk-harul Iqbal told this newspaper, “We have received a list of 59 people. A copy of the list was sent to our Head of Chancery by the authority which is in charge of the process. However, no further communication has taken place between us and any other authority so far.”
A senior IPS officer pointed out that the process involves the state police to hand over the migrants to the BSF, which in turn hand over them to the Border Guard Bangladesh, according to a 2013 guidelines of the ministry of home affairs.