Twelve people, including seven minors, have been stranded at the Indo-Bangla border in Tripura for the last six days due to a disagreement between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) over their nationality. The group has been waiting in the Miyapara area of Sipahijala district since 6 pm on July 11 when they were halted near Border pillar 2039/12-S.
“During an enquiry by the BSF party, the group revealed they were residents of Harikula village under Chandina police station of Comilla district of Bangladesh… We sensitised them about the International Boundary and Indian Territory and directed them to return to Bangladesh territory,” the BSF said in a statement.
BGB troopers, on the other hand, reached the spot and declined permission for them to return as they were not in possession of valid documents to establish their identities.
The stranded people were identified as Kulsum Bibi (60), Barsida Begam (35), Rajita Begam (39), Mohinuddin (22), Sajana Begam (21), Shakil Miah (14), Ravens Khatun (12), Sakib (11), Raja Hossain (9), Rashmi Akhtar (4), Alia Khatun (3) and Rajaul Hossain (2).
They have been provided basic amenities by the BSF and locals on humanitarian grounds.
In the last six days, several meetings have been held between the BSF and BGB. During these meeting, the BSF claims it provided Bangladeshi authorities with sufficient proof to establish the identities of the 12 people.
On July 11, a company commander level flag meeting was held at Kasba Border Out Post (BOP).
Three days later, on July 14, a battalion commander level flag meeting was held, during which the BSF handed over “supporting documents” to prove their identities. This included photographs, home addresses, family tree charts and one CD containing voice and videos conversations between Kulsum Bibi and her son, who is living in Bangladesh.
“… As per the understanding between the BSF and BGB, women and children apprehended at the International Border have to be handed over/accepted by BGB/BSF, subject to confirmation of their nationality, immediately after apprehension, treating them as victims of human trafficking”, the BSF statement read.
However, the BSF said Bangladeshi authorities had delayed the process despite evidence handed over to them.
In April this year, a woman from Bangladesh was found stranded on a sand dune amidst River Feni along the riverine International Border in south Tripura. A similar incident took place a month later.
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