'Mentally-challenged' woman stranded on islet along India-Bangladesh border since April 2
Residents of Kathalchhari and Amtali villages along the border claimed the BGB personnel along with locals have tried to push the woman into the Indian territory from 3 different places since April 2.
SABROOM (TRIPURA): A middle-aged woman, who is reportedly mentally-challenged, has been stranded on an islet in Feni river along the India-Bangladesh border in south Tripura district since April 2, officials said on Monday.
She was stranded after Bangladeshis, with help of the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), tried to push her into India, while the Border Security Force (BSF) resisted their attempts, they said.
"People of Bangladesh are providing food and water to her after attempts by local Bangladeshis and the BGB to push her into India failed," a BSF official at Kathalchhari border outpost told PTI.
Residents of Kathalchhari and Amtali villages along the border claimed the BGB personnel along with locals have tried to push the woman into the Indian territory from three different places since April 2.
"On the afternoon of April 2, we heard a lot of noise near the river opposite our house. We saw 20 Bangladeshis trying to push a woman into India from the other side of the river and BGB personnel were encouraging them," Rupam Basak (26), a resident of Kathalchhari, told a group of journalists.
Tripura shares an 856-km long boundary with Bangladesh.
A 67-km stretch along the Tripura Frontier is unfenced, including three km along Kathalchhari and Amtali villages, according to BSF officials.
Another villager, Sushanta Basak, said the bid to push the woman into the Indian territory took place right in front of the BGB's Ramgarh border outpost.
Jharna Chakraborty, another local resident, said the woman appears to be a Bangladeshi national.
"A few women from Amtali village spoke to the stranded woman by shouting out to her. Apparently, she is Bangladeshi as she calls water 'paani' whereas Indian Bengalis call it 'jol'. Moreover, she gave a reference of Mirpur in Dhaka and said she was in love with a man named Faruk who recently married another woman," Chakraborty said.
She said Bangladesh should admit the woman to a mental asylum on humanitarian grounds.
A BSF spokesperson said he visited the area and conducted an extensive inquiry.
"There is no doubt that the woman is from Bangladesh and the neighbouring country should take her back," he said.
Meanwhile, the BSF officials said two other mentally-challenged persons, who were pushed into India on Sunday, were sent back to Bangladesh.
"A mentally-challenged young woman and a middle-aged man were identified at two different places along the border.
They were handed over to Bangladeshi authorities after a meeting was held between sector commanders of the border forces of the two countries," a BSF official said.
The official claimed that there has been a clear pattern of Bangladeshis pushing mentally-challenged persons from their country into India.
"Perhaps they want the mentally-challenged persons to be treated in mental asylums in Tripura as there are many such patients from the neighbouring country admitted to the lone mental hospital in Agartala," he said.
At least 18 mentally-challenged persons from Bangladesh are being treated at Agartala's Modern Psychiatric Hospital.
Such persons are handed over to Bangladesh from time to time after their recovery, Dr.
Jyotirmoy Ghosh of the hospital said.
One such patient, Bithi Akhter, was handed over to her family in Bangladesh after being treated for eight years in Tripura, he said.