THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has repatriated hundreds of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from here to their country in the past, but the story of 42-year-old Giyasuddin, a Bangla national who was taken from a mental health centre in Peroorkada to the Bangladeshi border on Thursday, is a story of determination, plain luck and humanity at its best.
Giyasuddin was rescued by fishermen in October off the Alappuzha coast. They had found him critically ill on a raft made of plastic bottles. It is not known how and when he reached Kerala. “When he was brought here, he was not in a position to tell his whereabouts or the place he belonged to. After weeks-long efforts, the authorities here could make out the language he was trying to utter was Bangla,” said DR Sagar at the Government Mental Health Centre. The fishermen had taken Giyasuddin to Thottappilly coastal police station and subsequently to Mental Health Centre, Peroorkada.
Generally, it’s difficult for a mentally unstable under-trial from a mental health centre, to be freed. TP Senkumar, as prison DGP, had submitted a report in the assembly where it was stated that 88 mentally challenged under-trials were languishing in the jails without trial for a very long period. They had not been released even after they were fit. Worryingly, some among them had been in jail since 1977.
However, luck favoured Giyasuddin, as some NGOs and officials from various departments came together and took up his issue with the Bangladeshi embassy. They secured his release in eight months.
Advocate Sandhya Janardhanan of District Legal Service Authority said, “We were not sure about his immediate repatriation as he was not in a position to tell his whereabouts. Luckily, when Bangladeshi consular officials visited him, they asked him whether he could remember anything about his place or any numbers from his country. All of a sudden, he uttered a mobile number and when the officials dialled the number, someone answered the call. It was Giyasuddin’s brother-in-law. This made things easy for his repatriation.”
Sumesh, civil police officer at the Thottappilly coastal police station, who took him to Bangladeshi border, said the police intelligence SP Sam Christy and FRO in Alappuzha had worked for his release considering his plight. The police and court did not invoke the provisions of the Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 as he was mentally unstable.
Benoy Peter, executive director, Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development, which works for the welfare of migrants, said his early release was the result of collective effort by a group of officials and NGOs.
“Once his identity was established, we contacted Indu Varma, a Malayalee activist in Bangladesh who works for the migrants, and she, in turn, arranged the service of an NGO named Right Jessore there which coordinated with the authorities here,” he said.