Hundreds of Bangladeshis stuck at Petrapole-Benapole border are suffering due to sudden restriction put between India and Bangladesh land borders.
Most of these people who had come to Calcutta on medical visas are now in a dilemma as they are not being let back in Bangladesh while their visas are expiring, reports The Telegraph India.
Following instructions from the Bangladeshi foreign ministry in Dhaka, the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Calcutta issued a circular on Sunday which limited the movement of foreigners and Bangladeshi citizens across all common borders between the two countries.
The circular said any movement will be suspended for two weeks, from 26 April to 9 May, "in light of the recent upsurge of the second wave of Covid-19" in Bangladesh and India.
Many Bangladeshi nationals gathered at the Petrapole immigration centre on Monday morning, unaware of the sudden change in immigration rules, and were denied entry into their country.
"I came to know about the order only early this morning. A large number of people from Bangladesh came to India on medical visas. Our Deputy High Commission should have alerted us ahead with at least two days' time so that we could have enough time to return," said Mohammed Habibur Rahaman, a Bangladeshi who reached India for the treatment of one of his relatives.
"People mostly accompanying patients don't know where and how they would stay during this suspended period,"
Rahman appealed to the Bangladesh government to be gracious and grant them a reasonable amount of time to return home to save the lives of the patients they brought to India for care.
Another Bangladeshi citizen said: "Many of us are also running out of money after paying the cost of treatment as they came with serious patients. How could our authorities be so unkind to these patients?"
The Bangladeshi nationals repeatedly appealed to the Indian Immigration authorities to take up their matter with the counterparts in the neighbouring countries. Tarun Biswas, chief immigration officer at Petrapole, said: "We are helpless. It is the Bangladeshi authorities who sealed the border."
An official at the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Calcutta said: "We have no directive for allowing people in general to cross the border. Only in some exceptions may permission be granted to return. People with visa expiring shortly will be considered to return on obtaining no-objection certificate and following the Covid protocol."