A mentally-challenged woman has been stranded in the middle of Feni river in Tripura since April 2 Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: A middle-aged woman — who is said to be mentally-challenged — has been “trapped” in an islet (char area) in the middle of Feni river, which also divides the boundaries of India and Bangladesh in South Tripura district, since April 2.

Although the woman has been stranded in the area for over a week now, both the countries have refused to “accept her”.

After receiving the information, this EastMojo correspondent visited the spot and interacted with the locals to ascertain the facts.

Speaking with EastMojo, Sushanta Basak, a resident of Kathalchari village, said that on April 2 afternoon, he and a few others from the village heard a noise on their way back home. “We rushed to see what happened and saw a group of people standing with sticks on the other side of the border. They were trying to push a woman inside Indian territory,” he said.

Basak added that the Border Security Force (BSF) troops deployed in the area resisted their attempts and the woman was eventually pushed back to the other side.

Rupam Basak and Sushanta Basak were the eyewitnesses who saw the BGB troops pushing the woman into Indian territory on April 2

Another eyewitness, Rupam Basak, who clicked photos of the incident, told EastMojo that Bangladeshi nationals often behave aggressively and attack people living in the bordering villages. He claimed that nobody from the Indian side is allowed to cross over to Bangladesh, even though the area is not covered by barbed-wire fencing.

For the last 11 days, the woman, who could not be identified yet, is living on a small area of islet near the river close to Amtali village.

The mentally-challenged woman has been stranded in the ‘char’ area since April 2

Suman Debnath, a resident of the village, told this correspondent that he saw Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) personnel armed with sticks pushing the woman to Indian soil after midnight on April 2. He further said that a team of villagers, including himself, went to visit the woman and spoke with her.

“It was clear from her accent and the names of places that she was referring to that she is a Bangladeshi citizen. She was pushed to our side by the Bangladeshi people, aided by the BGB. It was late in the night at the time,” she said.

On being contacted, a BSF PRO said he has conducted an extensive inquiry into the issue and it has revealed that the woman was not seen in the Sabroom area before and that she has come from Bangladesh. The official also said she was pushed towards the Indian side via the unfenced border along Feni river. The woman is currently living on the islet on the Bangladesh side.

Similar reports have come from a place around 100 from Amtali village and from Samarganj, another village in Sabroom sub-division itself. Two persons, including a young woman and a 45-year old man were found in these parts in the last 24 hours. They were later returned to Bangladesh after meetings between sector commanders of both the forces.

Eighteen ‘mentally-challenged’ persons from Bangladesh are now under treatment at Modern Psychiatric Hospital in Agartala. They are sent back to their country after treatment from time to time.

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