WB govt takes initiative to release foreign prisoners

Mamata Banerjee
Kolkata, May 27: Languishing in West Bengal's jails for months, Bangladeshi nationals and those from other countries will be released soon with the new state government taking an initiative in this regard.

The minister for Correctional Administration, Shankar Chakraborty, said there were a large number of foreign nationals, the bulk of which are from Bangladesh, lodged in different correctional homes in the state.

"We have already initiated primary steps in getting them released from correctional homes and repatriated to their respective countries," Chakraborty told PTI.

The minister said that some prisoners in fact had already been released and repatriated to the neighbouring country since the Mamata Banerjee government took over the reins of the administration.

Some prisoners, Chakraborty said, had been released but their repatriation was taking some time because of delay in verification of their nationality.

"We are taking up the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs to expedite the matter. The Ministry of External Affairs was also working with the Bangladesh authorities," the minister said.

He said that the Centre was also having a dialogue with the authorities of the countries, where the prisoners hail from, to work out an agreement under which the inmates could serve the remaining part of the terms in their homelands. Chakraborty said that the arrangement would free up space in the overcrowded jails and save resources as well. 

Inspector-General of Correctional Administration Ranvir Kumar said steps had been taken to expedite the verification process so that the released prisoners could be handed over to the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) soon.

"Such verification of nationality is required to repatriate the prisoners to their homelands," Kumar said. "We have already given details of the inmates to the MHA and are awaiting for the outcome," Chakraborty said.

Apart from Bangladeshi prisoners, a few Burmese and Pakistani inmates were also waiting for their release, the minister said.

The IG said that a Chinese woman inmate of the Alipore Women Correctional Home had recently been released and repatriated to her homeland.

Kumar said that 1,500 prisoners, mostly from Bangladesh, have been repatriated after their release from different state correctional homes in the last one year.

Meanwhile, names of another 430 prisoners, who are about to be released in the next six months, have been forwarded to the MHA for repatriation to Bangladesh, he said.

Giving some statistics dated till May 17, the IG said that 313 prisoners, comprising 273 males and 40 females, lodged in different correctional homes in the state had been released and were at present waiting for their repatriation.

There are still 942 prisoners, comprising 883 males and 59 females from Bangladesh, serving their terms, he said.

The total number of prisoners comprise 95 children, of them 55 boys and 40 girls, who are accompanying their jailed parents, he said.


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