A COURT in Vasai has released 22 people from Murshidabad district of West Bengal who were dumped in jail for 99 days after the Thane Police alleged that they were Bangladeshis.
The police had allegedly destroyed identity proof shown by these individuals,claiming they were forged and could be easily procured for Rs 500.
On December 26 last year,the Valiv police in Thane district picked up 26 people from a construction site of Rashmi Builders located in Naigaon (East). Assistant Police Inspector Anand Bhoir booked them under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act as well as the Passport Act,claiming that they were Bangladeshis.
Interestingly,police made allegations based on the accusations of two persons who were among those picked up.
Those who have been caught are without any valid legal documents and have illegally entered the country. Accused number one and two have claimed that all others are Bangladeshis, police said in their remand application presented before the Judicial Magistrate First Class in Vasai.
Maharashtra State Minorities Commission chairman Munaf Hakeem,who took up the issue,alleged,The Valiv police destroyed documents that they produced,saying they were fake and could be easily procured for Rs 500.
The 26 people were subsequently sent to Thane jail. Family members of some got in touch with Congress MP from Murshidabad Mannan Hussain,who took up the matter with the commission.
The commission asked the state police to verify the claims of those detained. The state police visited Murshidabad to verify the claims and found that 22 of those detained were Indian citizens, Hakim said.
On March 28,the Valiv Police finally moved an application before the Judicial Magistrate,asking for discharge of 22 of those detained. We went to verify addresses and found proof that all of them were residents of the said addresses. We have received proof that they are Indian residents and they should be set free, Bhoir said in an application to the Judicial Magistrate,seeking discharge of those detained.
On April 2,the court acquitted 22 of those detained. Two were granted bail and asked to prove that they were Indian citizens while the rest were found to be Bangladeshi citizens.
The minority commission has meanwhile asked for action against the police officers who made 22 Indian citizens stay in jail for no fault of theirs. How can you take action against your own citizens who show you valid documents? There is a need for the state to act against such police officers, Hakim said.