Six Rohingya Muslims, who were part of a group of 31 refugees stranded at the India-Bangladesh border for four days last month, were released on Wednesday, PTI reported. The six men were set free after the Rohingya Refugee Committee, an organisation working for Rohingyas in the country, furnished their bail bonds.
Prasenjit Debnath, who appeared on behalf of the six men, said West Tripura District and Sessions Judge SL Tripura had granted them bail on Monday. Mohammad Shaqir, a field representative of the Rohingya Refugee Committee, said the organisation submitted Rs 1.8 lakh for the six men.
The group of 31 Rohingya Muslims included 17 children and had been been stuck near the border in Tripura since January 18 as neither India nor Bangladesh was ready to accept them. Both the Border Security Force and the Border Guards Bangladesh had claimed that the group had come from the other side.
The children and eight women in the group were released from the Bishalgarh Central Jail on Tuesday after the Rohingya Refugee Committee paid the bail amount on their behalf. The court had granted bail to the women and children on January 22 and had sent the six Rohingya men to judicial custody for 14 days. But the women and children were forced to go back to prison since no one appeared to submit bail bonds for them.
After consultations with the Union Home Ministry, the BSF had decided to hand over the group to the Amtoli police station in West Tripura District on January 22. They were later produced before court.
Debnath sought their bail on the grounds that they could not be treated as illegal immigrants because India was a signatory to the resolutions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He also told the court that no one would be available to look after the children if their mothers were imprisoned.
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority community from Myanmar’s Rakhine state who have faced persecution in the predominantly Buddhist nation for around four decades now. Over the years, thousands of Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh and India. In August 2017, India announced that it was planning to deport all 40,000 Rohingya refugees in its territory.