HC furious as 320 foreigners spend extra years in jails

There are 320 foreigners who are languishing in jails across West Bengal even after serving their conviction terms.

A report submitted by the jail department in the Calcutta High Court on Thursday has highlighted the illegal detention of foreigners in the state who were arrested under Foreigners' Act for entering India without proper documentation.

Of them, 313 are Bangladesh nationals, two from Nigeria, two from Myanmar, one from Ukraine and one from Lesotho. An Indian national who was mistakenly arrested as a Bangladeshi is also among them.

What is more shocking is that the two Myanmarese nationals have already spent an extra nine years in jail after their conviction period came to an end. The case of the sole Ukrainian is more shocking as he has spent an additional 12 years in jail.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Pratap Kumar Roy and Justice Subal Baidya expressed anguish over the report and termed it illegal and inhuman. "Though they were convicted under the Foreigners' Act, why they are in jail even after their conviction period ended?" asked Justice Roy.

Advocate General Anindya Mitra told the court that the process to deport them was underway.

"The state government has informed the External Affairs Ministry about the foreign nationals lodged in jail. After getting nod from Centre, they would be handed over to the BSF or other concerned force," Mitra said.

The Division Bench has sought the details of correspondence made by the government with the concerned countries regarding their deportation.

"They are citizens of this world and they have the right to be freed from jail," Justice Roy added.

The Division Bench directed Chief Secretary and Home Secretary to file affidavit on the issue.

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