Silchar: Amit Bose spent nearly six years in detention camps and jails, but not for a crime he committed. His only ‘fault’ was that the 24-year-old is a schizophrenia patient. But finally, after a harrowing time, he is all set to walk free after the Gauhati High Court allowed his family to take over the custody.
Amit Bose spent over five years in a detention camp in Silchar, and before that, 12 months of rigorous imprisonment at the Silchar central jail, because he ‘confessed’ he was a Bangladesh citizen.
Amit’s father, Arabindo Bose, said his son is a schizophrenia patient and used to talk ‘nonsense’ at home. “Sometimes, I used to lose my temper and start beating him, thinking this may bring him to his senses. But one day, he left home without informing us,” Arabindo Bose told EastMojo.
A resident of Radali Path in Dispur, Amit took the train years ago and reached the Badarpur Railway Station in Barak Valley, 300 km from his home.
“There, he went to an RPF Jawan, asking for help to return to his native home in Bangladesh. He was brought to Karimganj RPF post and thereafter sent to jail,” his father added.
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Amit Bose was convicted of committing an offence under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946, based on his admission of guilt before the Judicial Magistrate First Class-II, Karimganj, that he entered India from Bangladesh seeking better employment opportunities in India. Because of poverty, he was unable to fend for his family, he had told the authorities.
“Accordingly, he was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 1 (one) year,” mentioned the High Court order dated April 20, 2022.
The court order added that in this regard, petitioner Nilima Bose, mother of Amit Bose, submitted that if the necessary evidence had been produced before Judicial Magistrate First Class-Il, Karimganj at the relevant time, “the petitioner’s son would not have been convicted as her son is not a Bangladeshi as mentioned in the order dated 21.01.2016 but an Indian.”
The family said they could not ‘free’ their child in time because of their weak financial situation. “The judgment was made ex-parte before we could prove his Indian identity. After one year in jail, my son was sent to the detention camp,” Amit’s mother Nilima told EastMojo.
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“Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that though the imprisonment period i.e. 1 (one) year is already over long back about 5 years ago, the petitioner’s son has not yet been released from the detention camp on the ground that he is a foreigner and till date, he is in the detention camp,” said the order.
How legal complications led to delay in Amit’s release
In the petition before Gauhati High Court, Nilima challenged the order dated 21.01.2016 passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class-II, Karimganj, which convicted Amit for an offence under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a year.
The court has now posted the matter for May 6, 2022, before handing over the custody of Amit Bose to his parents to ensure his mental well being. However, the petitioner has been asked to furnish an undertaking before the Superintendent of Police (Border), Karimganj to produce her son before him as and when directed by this Court.
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“Under the circumstances, we are of the view that this matter would require proper examination as the petitioner has sought for quashing of the entire proceedings in GR Case No.39/2016 …as this order unless interfered would have the effect of dubbing the petitioner’s son as a foreigner, even though he has already served out the sentence,” mentioned the court.
Amit’s family was supported by Amra Bangali Organization, which assisted them with all legal suggestions. Sadhan Purkayastha, the organisation’s secretary, explained why Amit’s case was so peculiar and how they assisted the Bose family.
“After Amit completed his jail sentence, he was sent to Silchar detention centre for deportation to Bangladesh. But the deportation could not occur as authorities were having a tough time verifying his details with their Bangladesh counterparts. This is quite understandable as he is an Indian citizen and has no address in Bangladesh,” Purkayastha told EastMojo.
In the meantime, the Supreme Court of India, during the pandemic, ordered the release (on bail) of those who had been in the detention camps for two or more years. However, this was not possible in Amit’s case due to legal complications as he was a “judicially declared foreigner”, Purkayastha said.
Former Karimganj Superintendent of Police Pradeep Ranjan Kar also tried his best to get Amit out on bail, but could not. Amit Basu’s family also appealed to the National Human Rights Commission, but to no avail. With no options, the family, with the help of Amra Bangali Organization, moved to the Guwahati High Court earlier this year.
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