Hundreds of Bangladeshis who sold their land and went to Vietnam seeking fortune have returned to the country empty-handed. Although they returned to the country being undone, none of them could go home. Some 83 returnees including 81 Vietnam returnees and two Qatar returnees were imprisoned after a two-week coronavirus quarantine. On the other hand, only a few of the fraudsters that stripped everything of the workers have been arrested, but most of them are at large.
There is no specific allegation against the returnees. They were arrested on suspicion and sent to jail. The excuse that the Turag police station has come up with is unacceptable. “It is suspected that the expatriates were planning anti-state and anti-government activities at the Diabari quarantine centre. I received the information from secret sources and so, arrested and sent them to jail under section 54,” said Turag police station sub-inspector, Md. Anwarul Islam.
It seems from Anwarul Islam’s speech that the Vietnam returnees are so knavish. They were hatching plans against the state and government staying in quarantine. The police officer does not even know about the plan, but sent the returnees to jail. A Vietnam returnee said, “None of us were involved in any crime in Vietnam. We have never been jailed there,” said a Vietnam returnee. They went to the Bangladesh embassy in Hanoi seeking redress for deception. A number of them took position in front of the embassy. It is not only unethical, but also illegal to arrest them for this reason.
If our police department is so proactive then it can show its responsibility by taking action against the culprits, not the victims. According to the media, nine recruiting agencies had obtained the clearance from the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) to send workers to Vietnam. Tk 400,000 to 500,000 had been extracted from each of the youths. A Daily Star report reveals the tragic story of several victims, one of whom went to Vietnam last December borrowing Tk 400,000. The agency promised him a job with attractive salary, but on arrival, he found the appointment letter was fake. His family is living like destitute as he is in jail after returning to the country. The experience of the other imprisoned returnees’ is more or less the same.
Fortune seekers fall victim to deception and fraudulence. The recruiting agencies, not the victims, are responsible for this. But the law enforcement agencies have sent the deceived youths to jail instead of conducting drives against the recruiting agencies. Due to this, the imprisoned youths’ families are living in distress.
Following a writ petition, the High Court issued a rule on Monday as to why the 83 returnees would not be released. The secretaries to the ministries of home, law, and foreign affairs, inspector general of police, inspector general of prisons, and the officer-in-charge of Turag police station were asked to show cause. In many cases, the people concerned do not heed the order or rule to show cause. They consider themselves above the law. Sensitivity is expected from every one when the question of the life and death of 83 families is concerned.
Let the 83 imprisoned Vietnam returnees be freed immediately and unconditionally. At the same time, the police officer who arrested so many citizens on suspicion and sent them to jail, must be held accountable too. The implementation of law does not mean that the members of the law enforcement will have no consideration.