CROSS BORDER CONCERNS: Envoy query on broken Bangla family – blame it on sad & wrong limey departure politics ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY MEHEDI HEDAYTULLAH
Islampur, July 20: The Bangladesh deputy high commission in Calcutta has written to Dhaka for information on the nationality of two children “at the earliest”, a step towards reuniting Krishna and Anima with their parents.
When infiltrators Madan and Malati Barman were pushed back into Bangladesh from India on June 30 after serving their jail terms, Bangladesh Rifles refused to let in their children, Krishna, 14, and Anima 12.
After the story was published in The Telegraph on July 10 , Calcutta-based NGO Diganta contacted the North Dinajpur district administration and collected relevant documents before getting in touch with the Bangladesh deputy high commission. The documents were handed over to first secretary, Mohammed Abdul Hasan Mridha.
“We requested him to take up the matter on humanitarian grounds and try to reunite the family torn apart by an international border,” Diganta secretary Utpal Roy said.
Roy also contacted Mohsin Ali Khan, a retired ambassador of Bangladesh, now the executive director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, to repatriate the children at the earliest. “Mohsin Ali Khan is an old associate and we have a very cordial relationship. He, too, took up the matter with the Bangladesh ministries of home and foreign affairs to draw their attention to this gross inhuman state of affairs,” Roy said.
The first secretary too wrote to the two ministries (a copy of the letter is with The Telegraph), asking for information on the nationality of the children “at the earliest”. The letters said “if their Bangladesh nationalities are confirmed, kindly inform this Mission and the concerned authorities in Bangladesh for their smooth repatriation. An urgent reply in this regard is highly solicited”.
“We have sent a letter to the home ministry in Dhaka. Once we get a verification report we will take the necessary action,” Mridha said over the phone from Calcutta.
Roy said he was determined to reunite the family. “I expect something positive to emerge by the end of the month. If nothing moves, I am going to Dhaka on August 7 and will try to speed up things, but I am confident that the children will soon be reunited with their parents,” he said. The saga of the two children and their Bangladeshi parents dates back to September 2007, when they were arrested for infiltrating. The parents were lodged in the Islampur subjail and the children in government shelters in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.
When Malati, while being produced in an Islampur court, broke down and pleaded to be reunited with her children, local lawyer Feroz Ahmed took up her plea but it was rejected by the subdivisional court.
Ahmed appealed to the high court which legalised meetings between the parents and the children based on United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
But Bangladesh proved to be less flexible or sympathetic than Calcutta High Court towards its own citizens. It separated Malati and Madan from their minor children as soon as they set foot on home soil on June 30. BDR officials said the order from Dhaka (to take back) had mentioned only the parents and not the children. Since then the brother and sister had been staying at a government home in Raiganj.