The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BDR pushes back Indian families

Jalangi (Murshidabad), Feb. 25: In a covert operation undertaken jointly by Bangladesh police and the Bangladesh Rifles last evening, two Indian families comprising a dozen members were “pushed back” into the district.

The group of four men, two women and six girls was apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF) near Udaynagar colony, close to the border. They had just walked across after being escorted up to the last point on the Bangladeshi side by the police and the BDR.

“Jawans from the BSF’s 26 Battalion manning the Singhpara border outpost arrested them. They were handed over to the district police today for infiltrating without valid documents,” said a BSF officer.

The BSF recovered Taka 1,684 from them along with utensils and other household items.

“Interrogation at the Jalangi police station revealed one of the families was from Ghayramari village in the area and the other from Bajitpur,” said additional superintendent of police Shankar Singh.

The local panchayat members have confirmed that the families were Indian, Singh said.

The arrested villagers have confessed they had “migrated” to Bangladesh three years ago.

“Our original home is in Bajitpur in the Domkal area. I moved to Bangladesh with my family; initially, we stayed with some relatives and later I managed to construct a hut in a village called Allardarga in the Daulatabad police station area of Kusthia district,” said Patan Sheikh, one of those arrested.

Patan used to drive a rickshaw-van to earn a living in Bangladesh. He never met with any resistance till the police there launched a crackdown.

“My family and that of Idris Sheikh were rounded up by the police, who took us to the BDR. From there, we were herded to the border. The BDR told us to go back straight into India. We had no alternative. We were threatened of dire consequences if we made any attempt to return,” Patan said, sitting in the police station.

“I have been forced to return to India with my four daughters. They are between two and 10 years; three years ago, I had moved to Bangladesh. We thought we would be better off with the help of our relatives there,” said Firoza Bibi, wife of Idris Sheikh. “We were just settling down when they threw us out,” she added.

Pointing at her two-year-old daughter, Mila, Firoza said she was born in Bangladesh. “She will grow up not remembering what hardship we went through both sides of the border, where our only aim was to earn a livelihood. We are no criminals.”

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