Guwahati, April 4 (IANS) Even as Myanmarese refugees from various parts of India are returning home to celebrate the political return of Aung San Suu Kyi, two sisters from Myanmar, rescued from the clutches of human traffickers in Mumbai, are spending sleepless nights at a shelter home in Guwahati, waiting for the Indian government to facilitate their return home.
The two sisters were first rescued by Mumbai Police from the clutches of human traffickers in 2008 and sent to Assam as 'the state is close to Myanmar'.
The two had spent over three years in Benapur in Bangladesh, in Kolkata and later at a shelter home in Mumbai before being brought to Ujjwala, a shelter home run by Global Organisation for Life Development (GOLD), a city-based NGO in September last year, for repatriation.
"It's more than six months now after they were brought here. We have contacted the Ministry of Home Affairs of the government of India for their repatriation. However, nothing has been done so far," general secretary of GOLD, Rajeeb Kumar Sharma, told IANS, while adding that it is better for the two girls if they are sent home early as it's a sentimental issue for them.
Sharma, however, did not divulge the names of the girls and only said that they hail from a place called Rodo in Myanmar, close to Bangladesh.
Narrating their story, the two girls told IANS they had crossed over to Bangladesh along with 10 relatives in 2008 looking for jobs and a better life.
"We stayed at the house of one person in Benapur in Bangladesh. The person got us in touch with another person named Alam in Kolkata who helped us to move to Kolkata," said one of the girls, while adding that after staying for a few days in Kolkata they were taken to Mumbai by train by Alam along with four other Bengali girls. Alam promised them jobs in Mumbai, and by the time they were also separated from their relatives.
"However, as we reached a place called Mondua, we were spotted by some police personnel in plainclothes. During conversation, the police personnel got suspicious and forced us to get down from the train. They also interrogated Alam, who later confessed that he was taking us to sell to some brothels in Mumbai," said the girls.
Later, they were taken to a shelter home run by the Child Welfare Committee, Mumbai, where they spent about three years with some girls who were rescued from traffickers.
"On Sep 17 last year, the two girls were sent to us by the Mumbai child welfare committee for repatriation. They were sent here because Myanmar is closer from here," said Sharma.
"We have also traced their houses and talked to their parents in Myanmar. The parents are very much excited and eager to take their daughters back. However, we cannot do anything until the Government of India takes up the case and arranges for their repatriation," said Sharma.
(Anup Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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