Citizen group pleads for citizenship to refugees
SILCHAR, Feb 3: garikatwa Suraksha Sangram Committee (NSSC) of Barak Valley reacting to the recent decision of the NDA Government to grant long term visa to the refugees belonging to the minority communities of Hindu Bengalis, Christians and Buddhists who were forced to leave Bangladesh and Pakistan due to religious persecution said that “this is contrary to the assurances of the leaders of the country to provide them shelter and also the fundamental right to live in this country”.
In a statement, Sashanka Shekhar Paul, convener of the Sangram Committee, reminded how the leaders of the time of partition of the country made their commitments to protect the victims of partition. He regretted that those who migrated from West Pakistan have been granted citizenship while those from East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, continue to face uncertainty. These unfortute minorities of Bangladesh have been subjected to frequent political and religious persecution. But, nothing could change the attitude of the Centre towards them. He described it not only unfortute but also against all canons of tural justice.
Sashanka Shekhar Paul argued that the Notification dated September 7, 2015 issued by the Centre to grant citizenship to the refugees should have been given legal teeth to ensure their citizenship and also political right. Instead, the long term visa would only create problems for them. He at the same time referred to the pre poll promise of rendra Modi, prime ministerial candidate, to protect the refugees. He along with four other conveners of the Sangram Committee, Pradip Kumar Deb, Arungshu Bhattacharjee, Nekib Hussain Choudhury and Prabhash Chandra Sarkar, have accused the Centre of not keeping the promise and assurance.
They have found in this move of the NDA Government political motive in view of the coming assembly elections and to appease those forces who have been opposing the move to treat the refugees as citizens of the country. They have also questioned how the victims of religious persecution and political discrimition can produce relevant and necessary documents to establish that they are refugees. In the face of atrocities on them, it is common knowledge that they have lost all their belongings including the documents. They have to cross the border to save their life and limb.
The declaration of the NDA Government on visa is nothing but to keep the refugees on tenterhooks which will only add to their woes and worries. It is nothing but a ploy to keep the victims of religious persecution in good humour. After elections, everything will fall silent, they pointed out. The visa provision will not provide them either their dignity or right. In other words, unless a full-fledged Bill on citizenship is passed in the Parliament, everything else will be a futile exercise, they concluded.