CHRI Relieved to Know that Five year Ariful & grandparents reunited with family in India
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Press Statement, 29 April, 2012
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is happy and relieved to know that five year old Indian boy Ariful Shaikh and his grandparents have been released at the border between Bangladesh and India today. Sentenced to two months in prison for irregular border crossing, Ariful and his old grandparents have been in Kushtia jail of nearly 1 year while awaiting release orders.
Maja Daruwala, Director Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative expressing relief that the old grandparents and 5 year old were now reunited with their family said: " We are very happy for the family. We would not have been able to get this far without the help of BLAST in Bangladesh, Masum in West Bengal and the media that drew attention to the dreadful facts of Ariful's case.
But this is not the end. There are many more families in jail on both sides of the border that need immediate and efficient consular services.The ministries and governments on both sides must immediately come to an understanding and put in place suitable procedures that make sure that this kind of neglect and delay never take place in the future. No child of 5 should be in jail for even an hour let alone for nearly 11 months. The family should have been released after two months but lack of consular services and coordination forced them to remain in prison for nearly 11 months. How can this be acceptable to either government?"
"Even the final lap of the journey home has not been without unnecessary complication. Instead of being allowed to go home after verification the police insisted that the family stay with them until accompanied by police to a press conference organised by them later in the day at Murshidabad. It was only after a long argument that the family was allowed to go on their way. The boy was ill and vomiting, the grandparents frightened and the parents sick with tension. They had not consented to be at any special press conference and the actions of the police require an explanation."
CHRI hopes that the boy and his family will now be left alone to pick up their lives undisturbed."
For more information contact:
1. Sana Das, Coordinator, Prison Reforms Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative,
2. Mrs Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative,
, +91 9810199745