The shelter’s barbed wire fence shinnied up by the fleeing juveniles. Picture by Mithun Roy
Balurghat, Sept. 12: Twenty-one teenagers, 18 of them Bangladeshis, escaped from a home for juvenile offenders here last night after making holes in the wall of the building.
One of the escapees was later caught near the Bangladesh border.
Police suspect that others have crossed over to the neighbouring country.
The breakout from Subhayan was noticed during a roll call around 5.45am today. The shelter for boys had a total of 33 inmates and is guarded by six security personnel.
In the past also, Subhayan, run by the social welfare department, had reported escapes of juveniles many times.
“Early in the morning, the guards at the home informed me that 21 juveniles had escaped after scaling the fence. They drilled holes in the wall of their rooms and came out. We have informed the police about the incident. Eighteen of them are Bangladeshis and three are Indians,” said Dilip Biswas, the in-charge of Subhayan.
Sources said the inmates had been arrested on charges of theft and smuggling. The Bangladeshi boys were also charged with infiltration.
“When we took the roll call last night, all 33 were present. However, it was found in the morning that 21 of them were missing. The boundary wall has barbed wires on the top. The boys used quilts to cover the wires so they wouldn’t get injured and ran off,” said a source.
How they scaled the wall is unclear.
The police suspect that the escapees crossed over to Bangladesh. “The nearest border point from Balurghat is only 6km away. Apart from this, around 20km of the border is not fenced at Hili. The boys might have moved into Bangladesh,” said a police source.
Prasun Banerjee, the superintendent of police of South Dinajpur, said he had ordered an inquiry into the role of the guards at the shelter.