Eight Bangladesh nationals, including four women and two children, who were intercepted along the India-Bangladesh border at Berubari in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal earlier this week told officials of the Border Security Force (BSF) that they were trying to migrate into India to escape violence in the neighbouring country.

“The people were intercepted very close to the international border near Berubari border outpost which is not fenced. Instead of involving the local police, we kept them in our border outpost and handed them over to Border Guard Bangladesh at 12.00 hrs on Thursday after verifying their identity,” Inspector General of BSF (North Bengal Frontier) S.K. Sood told The Hindu over telephone.

The candid admission of the Bangladeshi nationals that they were seeking asylum in India is unusual, BSF officials said though they pointed out that attempts to sneak into the country is common along the border particularly in West Bengal.

Only two months ago a group of 12 Bangladeshis were also intercepted near the same outpost and handed over to the Border Guards Bangladesh in a similar manner. There were three women and four children in the group, who were handed back on January 14, BSF officials said.

“When intercepting groups of women and children near the border, we try to ensure that they are made comfortable. We accorded all possible help by the BSF,” Mr. Sood said, adding that in both cases the group was intercepted very close to the border.

If charges of migrating into country on illegal grounds were pressed against these people they would have to languish for years in the prisons of the State, senior BSF officials said. Nearly 2,000 Bangladeshi nationals are lodged in prisons here on similar charges.