Many Bangladeshis who went to different Indian states for treatment are stranded there and are in deep trouble as they cannot return home
Waliullah from Bogura's Gabtoli upazila went to India through the Benapole land port in Jashore on March 12 for by-pass surgery.
But as hospitals there were shut due to the countrywide lockdown in the wake of the spread of coronavirus, he could not undergo the operation.
Waliullah is now stranded in Bengaluru in Karnataka state.
"All shops are shut here. I will starve to death as I have almost run out of money. My family is worried about me. I want to return home by any means," he said.
Like Waliullah, many Bangladeshi citizens who went to different Indian states for treatment are stranded there. They are now in deep trouble as they cannot return home.
320 Bangladeshis stranded
India Treatment Community Bangladeshis is a Facebook group of Bangladeshi nationals who go to India for medical purposes. Manoj Chowdhury, an official of a public bank in Agartala, Tripura, is the group's adviser.
He has prepared a list of Bangladeshi patients and their relatives who are stranded in India.
As per the list, 320 Bangladeshi citizens, including patients and their relatives, were stranded in Delhi, Bengaluru in Karnataka state, Vellore in Tamil Nadu state, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Hyderabad in Telangana state and Kolkata in West Bengal until March 28.
Treatment of most of these patients is complete while that of some others has been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
'Situation will deteriorate if the lockdown is extended'
Dhiman Kumar Banik of Chattogram's Anderkilla went to Bengaluru for the open-heart surgery of his minor son, but is now stranded there alongwith his wife and child.
The money they took with them has been exhausted. He apprehended that if they had to stay there for a few more days, they would have to starve.
In an emotional voice, Dhiman told The Business Standard over phone, "I came to Bengaluru with my wife and my three-year-old son Debnil Banik. My son underwent the surgery at Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences on March 13, and was released three days later.
But now we cannot return home due to the lockdown," he said.
"Almost all the money we brought with us has been spent on the surgery. We are meeting our hotel rent and food cost from whatever is left. We cannot bring money from home. Our relatives are worried for us," said Dhiman.
He said the most severe problem is getting food. The family has been living on only vegetables for the last few days.
"We cannot go outside because police put people in trouble. Our problem will deteriorate if the lockdown is extended. We are not getting any cooperation from anybody," explained Dhiman.
He claimed the Bangladesh High Commission in India did not assist him.
"We called on the High Commission hotline on Sunday and sent it copies of our passports. We want to return to Bangladesh in any way we can," added Dhiman.
Asif Iqbal of Brahmanbaria's Bijoynagar upazila, who went to BLK Hospital in New Delhi for treatment, said his kidney had been transplanted in August 2016.
"I have to come to India occasionally for checkup. This time, I came through Akhaura border on January 27. I was scheduled to return home on March 25 after treatment.
"But the air ticket was cancelled due to the lockdown. I do not have money to buy a fresh ticket. I came here to get well. Now I will have to return home in sickness," he said.
Asif said the Bangladeshis in India are in a very serious situation.
'We will have to spend the night on the street'
Nirmal Kumar from Mymensingh is stranded in Mumbai. The 22-year-old has been suffering from liver cancer for the last three months.
He, along with his father, went to Mumbai for treatment at Tata Memorial Centre. His treatment has not been completed.
He will have to go there again in April as per doctors' advice.
Father and son are now living there in a rented house. They are facing problems in getting food as the restaurants are closed.
The situation is deteriorating gradually, said Nirmal.
"My father and I will have to spend the night on the street after a few days," he said.
He demanded effective government steps to arrange their return to Bangladesh.
Hafizur Rahman is a student of mass communication and journalism at Osmania University in Hyderabad. He has been talking with a number of Bangladeshis who are stranded there.
He said they are facing serious problems regarding food.
"I spoke with a good number of patients and their relatives. All of them have talked about their helplessness. They are worried about how they will pay the hotel bill and the cost of food," said Hafizur.
He also said, "There is a superstore in front of my hostel. We shop there, but the stock of daily essentials is depleting. If the lockdown continues, the situation will be much worse."
'Both governments have to come forward in the matter of repatriations'
Manoj Chowdhury, adviser to the India Treatment Community Bangladesh Facebook group, told The Business Standard, "I, along with a few others, have drawn up a list of Bangladeshi patients stranded in India. They have been spending time in utter uncertainty.
"Many have become helpless as their money has run out. I have talked with high officials of Bangladesh and India about this. Initiatives need to be taken to repatriate these Bangladeshis quickly."
Kalapala Babu Rao, president of Hyderabad Committee of Human Rights Forum in Telangana, said similar problems now prevail all over the world.
He said people have to abide by the government's decisions, and nobody has seen such a situation before.
The governments of both Bangladesh and India have to come forward for the repatriation of their respective citizens stranded in both countries, said Kalapala.
He said local administrations and people should help the governments of the two countries.
The human rights worker also said he would talk with the Bangladesh mission in Delhi about the repatriation of the stranded Bangladeshis.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam recently wrote on his Facebook page,"We heard some Bangladeshis who went to India for treatment have become stranded there. Our embassy has already prepared the primary list of such people.
"We will try so that the local authorities take care of them until they are brought back to the country."