36 Bangladeshi children are presently under illegal detention in an observation home in West Bengal state, Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch (MASUM) alleged.
The children have been illegally detained in “Subhayan”: Balurghat Observation Home in South Dinajpur district of West Bengal, MASUM chief Kirity Ray said.
The thirteen children, who are being detained even though the criminal cases launched against them under the Indian Law have already been disposed off, 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.
Four Bangladeshi children – Md Atikul, Md Sarif, Mokidul Islam and Md Sujan — are also detained in “Subhayan” home under the category “under trial”.
The report by MASUM says that the children are victims of human trafficking.
Ray said they were tagged into criminal cases for coming to India without any valid papers instead of being repatriated.
The statement said released by MASUM further said: “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.”
In this memorandum it has been clearly stated that “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 or the 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.”
A six-year old child, Ramjan Haque, and one ten-year old child Enamul Hoque are also at “Subhayan” for two and five years respectively, Ray said.
17 other Bangladeshi children have also been in “Subhayan” for several years: 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 says in addition to the victims’ immediate repatriation, it wants the whole issue to be investigated by one neutral investigating agency like the investigation wing of the National Human Rights Commission.