A father who came to receive his son was very happy and relieved when he saw his teenage boy crossing the Indo-Bangla border. It was after 11 months that he was meeting his son Sharian Kazi, 16, who accidently entered in India and ended up at Children’s Home in Dongri in March last year.
It was on March 20, 2020 when Sharian was sent to the Children’s Home and days later the nationwide lockdown was announced restricting travel movements. Since then it took the authorities almost 11 months to send him back to his native country, all thanks to pandemic induced lockdown.
In the third week of March last year, Sharian, went to India-Bangladesh border to witnessed the parade of armed forces of the two nations. "There were no seating available in our side so I went to Indian side and sat there and witnessed the parade, however, as soon as the parade ended they locked the gates and I ended up in the Indian territory without any valid documents, " said Sharian.
Instead of approaching the border officials, Sharian decided to explore India and came to Kolkata from where he boarded a train to Mumbai and reached here. According to the Children’s Home officials, at Kurla railway station he lost his purse, it was then that his father told him to approached police. When he went to Kurla GRP to lodged complaint, the police asked him for his credentials. After learning about his Bangladeshi identity they sent him to the Children’s Home in Dongri as he was an illegal immigrant.
"Since March we tried contacting Bangladesh embassy but it took several months to reply as initially even the embassy was shut due to lockdown. In October, finally they communicated. The embassy then sent his details to local police station in Bangladesh for confirmation of his nationality. In December they confirmed and in January we received travel permit," said Rahul Kanthikar, superintendent of Dongri Children’s Home. Generally it takes three months to complete the formalities and send such children back, he added.
In the first week of February, the children home staff along with police person took him to Howrah in Kolkata by train from where they took to roads and reached the border. While saying goodbye, the officials gifted him clothes and memorables.
Sharian who is a second year student of engineering learnt many things in last 11 months. "I learnt how to utilizes time, learn to play chess and to give speech which lifted my confidence," said Sharian. In his video message, while praising the SP Kanthikar and children home he did not forget to salute India. Crafts made by him have been hanged at walls of the SP office as well.
Staying so many months in a foreign country without parents was difficult, initially he was going through depression and we referred him to JJ hospital which advised medicines but later he overcome it, said Kanthikar.
Sharian was sent to his native country along with another teenager Abdul Shaikh, 15 who crossed the border in March 2020. Abdul crossed the border after an argument with his parents. Abdul was quite attracted of Bollywood and reached Mumbai to see celebs, but GRP personnel found him lurking on CSMT station and sent him to children home.
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