Skip to main content

Why arrest Rohingiyas with UNHCR card in West Bengal? Asks complaint to NHRC

By Our Representative 

In an unusual incident, three Rohingyas, including a child, have been arrested by cops as if they were criminals and sent to judicial custody after being produced before the court, despite the fact that they possess United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card.
Bringing this to light, a senior West Bengal-based activist said that the three entered India “without any valid documents to save their lives from persecution by the Myanmar government”.
Making a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission chairman, Kirity Roy, who is national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity ((PACTI), and secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, the three were arrested on May 28, 2022 at around 8.25 pm by cops belonging to the Mekhliganj Police Station, Cooch Behar district.
Roy said, police personnel interrogated them and came to the fact that they are Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and entered India without valid documents through the India- Bangladesh border.
They were arrested under section 14A of the Foreigners Act and produced before the Mekhliganj Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court and were sent to police remand for two days, he saaid, adding, on May 31, 2022 they were produced before the Mekhliganj Chief Judicial Magistrate court and upon magistrate’s order they were sent to the judicial custody at Jalpaigudi Central Correctional Home.
As for child, Saydul Amin, aged 11, said Roy, he was detained in the police lock up and later sent to the Jalpaiguri Central Correctional Home, noting, “Section 10 and 11 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act depicts that a child can never be kept in a police lock up or regular jail.”
Giving details of the accused, Roy said, Mohammad Sadiq, 26, belongs to village Fakira Bazar; Police Station Balibazar, District Atkub, Mayanmar, and is possession of UNHCR card No 305-14C00288, and the other person, Shamsul Alam, 61, also belonging to the same village, has the UNHCR card No 305-17C02182. The child, also from the same village, does not have a UNHCR card.
According to Roy, “The prosecution was registered against them merely on the allegation that they entered into India without any valid document, but the law enforcement agency bound by the law did not consider that the fact that those persons belong to Rohingya Muslim community, which is an oppressed ethnic minority community in Myanmar.”
Pointing out that the UNHCR India office is situated in New Delhi, and its work is known to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Roy said, “UNHCR issued cards to these Rohingya people along with other refugees. The UNHCR card confirms a person’s need for international protection.”
What is ironical, said Roy, is that police in its complaint has “mentioned that they seized two UNHCR cards from the arrested persons”, wondering whether, during the time of their arrest, the concerned police officials contact the UNHCR office in India or the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Government of India has given asylum to 62,000 Sri Lankan refugees and about 100,000 Tibetans
“If the police arrest the UNHCR card holders who are not harmful to the country and the prosecution takes them as offenders, and the judiciary sends them to the Correctional Homes, then it is the direct attack to the Criminal Justice Administration”, alleged Roy.
In fact, said Roy, “They have the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries and live a life free from persecution and such right flows from Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Denying them of such right is violation of the principles enshrined under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.”
He added, “As per Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984 to which India is a signatory, the law enforcing agency is obligated not to forcibly repatriate them to Myanmar.”
India has signed the UN resolution, though not ratified it yet.
Noted Roy, “We must remember that the Government of India has allowed 62,000 Sri Lankan refugees and about 100,000 Tibetans to get asylum in this country. Some bloggers from Bangladesh, some stateless people also live here peacefully who came from Myanmar, Afghanistan, even from Africa.”
Asking the NHRC to ensure that the authorities must “make a through enquiry on the situation of the victims” and “prosecution registered against the victims should be withdrawn immediately”, Roy said, “UNHCR office in India must intervene in connection with this case and take proper action in this regard.”
At the same time, Roy said, UNHCR office in Delhi should provide Saydul Amin a UNHCR card, insisting, “The child victim should be kept in a shelter home instead of the correctional home.”



'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.