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Law and Justice

83 Bangladeshi nationals begin hunger strike in Texas prison

16 October 2015,Friday, 14:23

Eighty two Bangladeshis went on fast unto death in El Paso County Detention Facilities in Texas of the USA on Wednesday protesting, what they say, a move of the US government to deport them back home.

The Bangladeshis who have been detained on charge of entering USA crossing border illegally fear that a move is underway to send them back home as news spread that the authorities concerned have dropped their cases they filed seeking political asylum there.

A new dimension was added to their fear when Foyej Ahmed of Chittagong was deported back home on September 25.

In USA, illegal migrants are called “arrival alien”.

Contacted, Kazi Fouzia of rights group, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), told the Naya Diganta that 83 Bangladeshis went to the USA crossing border illegally about a year back. All of them applied for political asylum mentioning that they are associated with politics of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), one of the largest political parties in Bangladesh, and their lives will be at stake if they are deported back home as currently situation in Bangladesh is very dangerous.

“We have gone on agitation as we have nothing to lose at this stage,“ Fouzia tells, quoting Mahabubur Rahaman of sylhet’s Byanibazar, as saying.

Rahaman is believed to be leading the hunger strikers in the prison.

Fouzia said the deportation process for the border-crossing migrants began nearly two months ago after the US Homeland Security adopted the position that is an undesignated ‘Tier III’ terrorist organisation.

The Homeland Security Department argued that the members of the BNP are ineligible for asylum for their alleged engagement in terrorist activities in their country.

But the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (in the US) trashed the Homeland Security’s claim that BNP was a terrorist organisation. They said BNP is one of the largest political parties in Bangladesh and it is illogical to brand it as a terrorist outfit.

The organisation says that the asylum cases, as granted by the officers on the ground of risk on their lives, must be heard and settled as per the US laws.

Referring to recent extrajudicial killings and crackdown by law enforcers on opposition including BNP in Bangladesh, the guild said the BNP members are particularly vulnerable to persecution and are in dire need of asylum.

The rights groups are voicing that 82 Bangladeshi nationals at El Paso county detention facilities go on hunger strike to demand that they are not deported and they could take shelter of the law to prove their claims. Fourteen of them were transferred from Texas to some other prisons facilities.

Ashok Karmakar, a New York attorney, has also appealed to the court claiming BNP-Jamaat are not terrorist organizations. And an Immigration Judge in New Jersey gave verdict accepting his claim.


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