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Bangladesh envoy query to unite split kids

Islampur, July 20: The Bangladesh Deputy High Commission 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 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, a Calcutta-based NGO, Diganta contacted the North Dinajpur district administration and collected the relevant documents before contacting the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Calcutta. The documents were handed over to first secretary, Mohammed Abdul Hasan Mridha.

“We requested him to take up the matter sympathetically and on humanitarian grounds and try to reunite the family torn apart by an international barrier as soon as possible,” 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, regarding the repatriation of the two 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 the 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 two children “at the earliest”. The letters also 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 get the family reunited. “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,” Roy 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.

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