The National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) has released its prison statistics report for the year 2018 (PSI 2018) shows that the highest number of foreigner undertrials and convicts were lodged in West Bengal prisons. It even shows that of the total number of foreigners imprisoned in India, the highest percentage is that of Bangladeshis.
The NCRB report on Prison Statistics 2018 says, “A total of 5,168 Foreign national inmates consisting of 4,381 Males and 787 Females were confined in various Indian jails at the end of the year 2018. Out of the 5,168 Foreign national prisoners, 2,108 were Convicts, 2,611 were Undertrials and 43 were Detenues. West Bengal has reported the highest number of inmates (2,316) followed by Maharashtra (587) and Delhi (416) accounting for 44.8%, 11.4% and 8.0% of the total inmates”.
Further, A total of 2108 Foreign national convicts consisting of 1811 Males and 297 Females were confined in various jails in the country at the end of the year 2018. West Bengal has lodged the highest number of convicted prisoners(1379) followed by Uttar Pradesh(130) and Delhi(97) accounting for 65.4%, 6.2%, 4.6 of the total convicts.
According to the NCRB report, West Bengal has also lodged the highest number of Undertrial prisoners (576) followed by Maharashtra (508) and Delhi (306) accounting for 22.1%, 19.5% and 11.7 % of the total foreign undertrials.
Even among undertrials totalling 2611 foreign national the highest number of prisoners belong to Bangladesh (1044) followed by Nigeria (489) and Nepal (459).
Interestingly, the NCRB report clearly states that the state of West Bengal has refused to share data with NCRB and hence, the numbers in the report are from 2017. With the recent developments, it would not be surprising if the number of 2018 is higher than that of 2017.
According to The Hindu, State Minister of Prisons Ujjwal Biswas said that the number of foreign inmates was higher because of West Bengal’s border with Bangladesh. “This is because of the lacunae in guarding the border [by personnel] deployed by the central government that we have a high number of foreign inmates in our prisons,” asserted Mr Biswas.
It is pertinent to note that West Bengal shares a 2,216 km border with Bangladesh and those caught illegally entering the country are usually booked under The Foreigners Act and can be imprisoned for several years.
Mamata Banerjee, the CM of West Bengal has been opposing NRC, that the central govt intends to extend to the entire country. The NRC would essentially aim to identify illegal immigrants and ensure that they are returned to their country of origin.
Despite West Bengal having the highest number of foreign prisoners, most from Bangladesh, Mamata Banerjee’s opposition to NRC is baffling.