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Central Government seeks four- week time from Supreme Court

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Bengali Hindu refugees

Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, April 7: The most crucial issue on protection to migrant Bengali Hindus in a writ petition vide W.P. (C) 243/2012filed by Swajan NGO and Bimolangshu Roy Foundation before the Supreme Court came up for hearing today. The petition prays for protection of displaced persons from Bangladesh’s minority communities (mainly Hindus and also Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians) who have been forced to take shelter in these States after the birth of the Country of Bangladesh in 1971, as a result of their ‘religious persecution’ in Bangladesh.

The following reliefs were sought in the said writ petition. These persons spread in different States of the Country be segregated from ‘illegal migrants’ as they came to this Country involuntarily to take shelter and save their life and dignity because of ‘persecution’ and they cannot be expelled from the Country. They should be given the status and benefits as ‘refugees’ and basic human rights and amenities like education, medical facilities, shelter, right to work, access to Court among others should be made available to them.

In this context, the issue of applicability of the principle of non-refoulment in UN Refugee Convention, 1951 and 1967, has been raised in the petition. The petition also prays that like in the case of States of Gujarat and Rajasthan, where grant of citizenship was facilitated for persecuted Hindus from Pakistan, these persons are also similarly placed and they also be granted citizenship.

As far as Assam and north-eastern States of Meghalaya, galand, Aruchal Pradesh and Mizoram are concerned, the petition prays for benefit of the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950 to be extended to them as they have come because of civil disturbances or fear of civil disturbances in Bangladesh. It is believed that lakhs and lakhs of such persons are there spread throughout the Country, especially in the States of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Odisha and the outcome of the petition would have far-reaching consequences for these persons.

The case came up for hearing before the two member Bench of the Supreme Court Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N. V. Raman. Petitioners were represented by Shuvodeep Roy, Advocate. The Central Government has appeared through the Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi. The Court wanted to know from the Central Government about its affidavit that it had promised to file by March 30, 2015.

The Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi informed the Court that the process of decision-making by Central Government is at the fil stages of consideration presently. He conveyed the request of the Home Secretary of the Central Government to give further 4 weeks time to place the decision before the Court. The Court granted 4 weeks time as requested by Central Government to place the policy on record.

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