To 6 April 2017
National Human Rights Commission,
Manav Adhikar Bhawan,
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi- 110023
I lodge this present complaint seeking your intervention where the following women being Bangladeshi nationals were arrested by the police of Swarupnagar Police Station, District-North 24 Parganas, West Bengal on 20.01.2017. Their names are as follows:-
1. Ms. Mili Akhtar, aged about-18 years, daughter of Miraj Joardar of Village & Post Office – Khulna, Police Station- Kulibagan, District – Khulna, Bangladesh.
2. Ms. Jharna Akhtar, aged about-24 years, daughter of Sultan Shaikh, of village – Rambhadra, Police Station – Najirpur, District – Pirojpur, Bangladesh.
3. Ms. Basanti Sikdar, aged about-60 years, wife of-Late Asit Sikdar, Village-Batajhore, Police Station-Magura, District- Magura, Bangladesh.
4. Ms. Sufia Begum, aged about-32 years, wife of Faruk Khan of Village-Mannik Jhore, Police Office-Amtali, Police Station-Moralganj, District – Bagerhat, Bangladesh.
5. Ms. Shiuli, aged about-18 years, daughter of Ibrahim Howladar, Village-Khawalia, Police Station- Moralganj, District-Bagerhat, Bangladesh.
6. Ms. Ruma, aged about-19 years, daughter of Ibrahim Howladar of Village-Khawalia, Police Station-Moralganj, District – Bagerhat, Bangladesh
7. Ms. Fatema Khatun, aged about-60 years, wife of-Abdul Kader Howladar, Village-Khawalia, Police Station-Moralganj, District – Bagerhat, Bangladesh.
8. Ms. Shilpi Begam, aged about-19 years, wife of Rubel Shaikh of Village-Banargathi, Police Station-Banargathi, District – Khulna, Bangladesh along with one lap baby namely Rumana Khatun (13 months).
The police of Swarupnagar Police Station registered a criminal case vide Swarupnagar Police Station Case no.51/2017 dated 20.01.2017 under section 14 of Foreigners Act. They were produced in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Basirhat on the next day and they are currently detained in a correctional home as Under-trial prisoner.
There was no indication that no formal enquiry was carried out by the police or BSF to ascertain whether the aforesaid Bangladeshi woman was the victim of human trafficking or not. Without ascertaining the same, they were brought under prosecution under the Foreigners Act.
It is strongly believed that some of the victims of trafficking were under age of below 18. They were minors. Just to avoid the harassment of duty, to send them before JJB, police of Swarupnagar simply put the ages as 18 or 19. Our FF teams view that in cases of –
I. Ms. Mili Akhtar, aged about-18 years, daughter of Miraj Joardar of Village & Post Office – Khulna, Police Station- Kulibagan, District – Khulna, Bangladesh
II. Ms. Shiuli, aged about-18 years, daughter of Ibrahim Howladar, Village-Khawalia, Police Station- Moralganj, District-Bagerhat, Bangladesh
III. Ms. Ruma, aged about-19 years, daughter of Ibrahim Howladar of Village-Khawalia, Police Station-Moralganj, District – Bagerhat, Bangladesh
IV. Ms. Shilpi Begam, aged about-19 years, wife of Rubel Shaikh of Village-Banargathi, Police Station-Banargathi, District – Khulna, Bangladesh along with one lap baby namely Rumana Khatun (13 months)
Where 5 (five) female persons were victims of manufacturing of criminal case by the police of Swarupdaha.
The national advisory was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division), Government of India on 1st May, 2012 inter alia states 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.”
The present incident shows that the police did not conducted any enquiry in view of the above stated national advisory. Therefore, I seek your urgent in the above stated matter and for consideration of the following demands:-
· The whole matter should be enquiry into by a neutral investigating authority.
· During pendency of the enquiry the victim Bangladeshi women and the woman with her lap child should be shifted to a shelter home.
· The authorities must be directed to conduct an enquiry in view of the national advisory while dealing with foreign national.
· The victims women must be repatriated to their home country if found to be the victims of trafficking by an enquiry in compliance of the national advisory.
· Any other action as the Commission may deem fit and proper.
National Convener, PACTI