Mother, son return to India after 15 months in Bangladesh jail for illegal entry

Updated on May 29, 2017 11:46 AM IST

The mother-son duo from Khagrabura village in Karimganj district of Assam reached their home early on Sunday after spending 15 months in Bangladesh’s Moulvibazar jail for entering illegally into the neighbouring country.

Jayanti Biswas (in green sari) is seen with her son Pranotosh (in grey T-shirt) at the Agartala-Akhaura border with BSF and BGB personnel on Saturday.(HT Photo)
Jayanti Biswas (in green sari) is seen with her son Pranotosh (in grey T-shirt) at the Agartala-Akhaura border with BSF and BGB personnel on Saturday.(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Guwahati | By

When she left home in February last year with her son, Jayanti Biswas thought it would take her and younger son Pranotosh only a few days to return. Instead, it took them 15 months.

The mother-son duo from Khagrabura village in Karimganj district of Assam reached their home early on Sunday after spending 15 months in Bangladesh’s Moulvibazar jail for entering illegally into the neighbouring country.

Though they were sentenced to just 30 days in jail, the term got extended to over a year due to delays in paperwork. It took nearly 8 months of efforts by local authorities in Assam, the external affairs ministries of both the countries and social activists to help them in their return.

Despite having passports 52-year-old Biswas and 23-year-old her son didn’t apply for visas before entering Bangladesh with the help of an agent as they were in a hurry to meet her daughter, who is married to a Bangladeshi and was very sick.

“Both of them stayed a few days at her daughter’s place in Brahmanbariya district and were returning back when they were arrested at the border by the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB),” local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Patharkandi, Krishnendu Paul, said.

A court sentenced them to one month’s jail and fined 1,000 takas for illegally entering Bangladesh. The sentence was extended by another 10 days after they were unable to pay the fine. The ordeal continued for months as orders from Dhaka about their release reached late.

Incidentally, Bangladesh’s foreign ministry ordered their release and 10 other Indians lodged in its jails in August last year. But the official papers did not reach the Moulvibazar jail until May this year.

“I took up the matter with Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal who got in touch with the external affairs ministry and the Bangladesh government was informed about the prisoners,” said Paul.

Efforts by Amolendu Das, a resident of Moulvibazar working for Bangladesh’s youth and sports ministry, to expedite the paperwork at Dhaka ensured that fresh orders for the release of the duo were issued recently.

Finally, Biswas and her son were handed over to the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at the Agartala-Akhaura border on Saturday afternoon. They reached home at 1:30am on Sunday.

“I was happy that nearly a month’s effort was successful and they were able to leave for their country. But there are still 9 more Indians lodged at the Moulvibazar jail,” Das wrote on his Facebook page.

Due to porous border between Bangladesh and India, many travel illegally from one side to another. While some are able to return undetected, those who get caught spend months and years in jails in both countries.

In October last year, 10 Bangladeshi nationals, who were languishing in Silchar jail in Assam for months even after completing their sentences for illegal entry into India, were sent back to their country.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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