Six Bangladeshi teenagers, who were kept at a juvenile correction centre in India's West Bengal state after their detention for crossing the border illegally, have been repatriated.
The Indian authorities handed over the six boys to Hili immigration checkpost (ICP) Officer-in-Charge Aftab Hossain on Wednesday.
They were kept at Shobbhayan Home – a juvenile correction centre in India's South Dinajpur district – for different terms, ranging from 8-15 months.
The juvenile correction centre is currently accommodating 32 more Bangladeshi children. Some of them have been kept there for about four years, said Shobhayan Home Coordinator Suruj Das.
He mentioned that the process is ongoing to repatriate two more boys in the next week.
These children were sent there after they were caught by members of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) from different areas along the border at different times. Most of them crossed the border in search of work.
Among the returnees, 14-year-old Nazmul Haque and 11-year-old Swadhin Hossain hail from Kurigram's Phulbari upazila.
They used to work at a brick kiln in Delhi. Traffickers are always there to assist such children of disadvantaged groups to trespass the national boundary, according to the family members of the two returnees.
After some days of work at the brick kiln, the two boys were returning through Hili border on December 17 when the BSF men detained them.
An Indian court later sent them to the correction centre.
They were bracing for an uncertain fate with the other Bangladeshi inmates, if not for a letter sent to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in August last year with the help of Child in Need Institute (CINI), a volunteer organisation in India.
Sagar Chandra Ray, the son of Kokaru Ray from Dinajpur's Biral upazila, told the Dhaka Tribune that they had also observed hunger strikes several times at the correction centre with the demand of repatriation.
There were 42 Bangladeshi inmates there in August last year. Nine of them were repatriated in December that year.
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