Bangladeshi woman repatriated

New Delhi/Hooghly, Jan 23 (IANS) An unstable Bangladeshi woman who was found in Indian territory in 2015 was repatriated to her home country on Monday by the West Bengal government, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) said.

Solma Begum, 38, was found wandering by the state police in April 2015 in Sarati Village, Arambag town. Begum was, at that time, diagnosed as mentally unstable and housed in a shelter home.

“After receiving counselling, Solma Begum began to recover and was able to recall her family. As a result, the head counsellor of the shelter home managed to contact her family and procure all the requisite documents,” CHRI, which helped Begum return home with the help of Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST), said in a statement.

It took the human rights group over one year of advocacy with the state home department and the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata before Begum’s identity could be confirmed and she repatriated.

However, what Begum did and where all she had been before being found by the police is not known, though she says that a woman brought her into India.

“She was mentally unstable when she was found. As she got better, she could only tell us that she was brought here by a woman on the pretext of a job, or treatment, or something else, who then stranded her,” an official from CHRI told IANS.

According to CHRI’s analysis of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, there were 6,185 foreign prisoners in India as on December 31, 2015.

Of this figure, West Bengal’s prisons house more than half the total foreign prisoners in the country. Bangladeshis constitute 98 per cent of this half, it said.