If the there was something that had kept the Lok Sabha election campaign abuzz and then political discussions heated in Bengal, with opposition to BJP completely going nuts and raising a noise and cries all over, is the simple mention of CAB or the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The blame has been of colored and layered. Some blaming it as a as “Bangali Khedao” or Kick out Bengalis campaign, some saying it breaks the secular fabric of the country that the constitution wants to upheld, some are saying it is anti-Muslim. But is it? The debate is no more only on the political platforms or part of adda sessions with people fuming with passion to proof themselves secular. Even media has ensured that it highlights the issue across all mediums of information, digital or otherwise.
News channels are conducting programs around this very topic and thus building up on the vague understanding that people are being removed on the basis of language. But if you watch closely , it would not be hard to understand the only intent of such cleverly curated programs seems to be to point fingers and shame the current BJP government for this activity. It is absolutely appaling to find that from FM programs to editorials of big publications are dedicating time and space to the thought “Save Bangla, Save Bangali”. While one who holds the microphone drives the narrative of such programs, most of the time the logic and reasoning in this blame charade are completely missing. And due to this willingness to speak without logic, nobody seems to be willing to accept that a huge percentage of those 40 lakh missing in the list are Muslims and cannot be categorized only as Bengali speakers.
So, why is it important to highlight the fact that they are “Muslim Bangladeshi”? Since the background story of most migrants is looking for a better life for self and family. Can this not be termed as cruelty towards a community?
Technically No, Legally No and Never on Humanitarian grounds. Let us explore the legal aspect of this first. Since, both India and Bangladesh are established as countries on their own, the movement of people between these two countries can be categorized into 3 types, migrants, people staying for a defined period of time with supporting documents, then there is a refugee and the illegal migrant. In the year 1959, in Geneva, the definition of a refugee was finalized by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). In 1967 it was further corrected in Uruguay Protocol. As per the corrected definition, that a person can seek refugee status in another country only if the person has been dismissed by his country, there is a state of war or terrorism in the country, or the person is being socially disrespected or is at risk or discriminated on the basis of religion, caste, creed, color, or political or social leanings. Since before 1947, Hindus of East Bengal have faced atrocities of horrifying nature or which killing, rape, and loot of wealth and property are common examples. The % of the Hindu population in East Bengal and now Bangladesh has reduced from 24% in 1947 to the current 8%. And the primary reason for this decline is the systematic atrocities targeted towards the Hindu population. So, as per the UNHCR definition, only the Hindus and Buddhists from Bangladesh can be identified as refugees. Thus, simply put Hindus moving from Bangladesh to protect themselves and female members and their property are refugees but Muslims migrating from Bangladesh purely for financial reasons cannot claim refugee status and hence will be seen as illegal immigrants. Thus no parallels can be drawn between these two categories of migration.
These Hindus, who moved from Bangladesh in search of a better life, had to face atrocities in India under the Congress and the CPI(M) regime. Congress had tried to settle them in Dandakaranya(M.P) and Malkangiri(Odisha) in animal farms like establishments. Men, women, and children were moved in open trucks from one state to another.
Many refugees died due to hunger and sickness in Mana Camp. CPI(M) played the politics of refugee vote banks but also carried out the horrific Morichjhanpi like deaths as soon as they got power. In 1979 in Morichjhanpi, refugees have been shot dead, women have been thrown off from boats and drowned. The helpless Hindus have been killed shamelessly.
For the first time, the Central Government has taken a bold step towards the settlement of Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh. As per CAB 2016, any Hindus coming to India before 31st December 2014, they can stay in India as long as they want, without facing any harassment. This will help them move them further along the citizenship process. By amending the 1955 bill, a big mass of these people become prime beneficiaries.
In West Bengal, the regional political parties are shamelessly painting both refugees and illegal immigrants in the same color because, at the end of the day, they are nothing but vote banks for them. Because of this shameless generalization, the silent elimination of Hindus from the villages of Bangladesh have been happily ignored. On the other hand, this also has led to the skewed demography as the % of the Hindu population has reduced in the bordering villages. Mothers had moved their raped daughters to Barasat and Canning, somehow managed a ration card by begging at the feet of the political Babus, but have not been able to get the citizenship rights associated with it. As per political parties, they are illegal and hence irrelevant, easy victims for local police. Thus, in order to understand the plight of Bangladeshi Hindus, one needs to segregate between the refugees and illegal immigrants.
Those who are termed as intruders are creating security concerns for the country, in West Bengal and Assam. After independence, Hindus have become a minority in three or four districts, like the Hailakandi in Assam. These districts now fast turning into a hub for international fundamentalists and thus it shows how deep-rooted the danger is. The modus operandi in West Bengal is simple. The likes of Shakeel Ahmed will create a voter card with the help of the communist brigade of Karimgunj in Nadia district. And once that is done with, he will start working as the active pin of one or the other terrorist organization.
Then he gets Indian girls like Kausar from the Khariji madrassa like the Simulia madrasa. And then when the government changed in the state, with the help of local stalwart leaders like Nurool Hasan Choudhury, was able to set up an IED manufacturing factory, right below the local party office of TMC. On 2nd October 2014, the explosion of Khagragarh came into the visibility of everybody. Later on during investigation, it was found that the IED was being manufactured for a banned terror outfit in Bangladesh called JMB. Money from Sarada Chit Fund has ‘innocently’ found its way into such terror. In between, Indian Muslim girls like Kausar, carrying the burden of two kids on her is moving between her term inside jail or hell outside and all this is due to people like Shakeel Ahmed. Thus illegal immigrants are a danger to both Hindus and Muslims of India.
However, one question keeps remaining unanswered. Why is Bangladesh allowing or ignoring the atrocities that are systematically being carried out against its Hindu minority population? Because, when such atrocities stop, the cross border infiltration of such refugees in the states of Assam and Bangladesh will stop. Have there been any protests made by the TMC government on the atrocities that are carried out on the Hindus across the border? Do you remember reading any article to highlight the plight of the Hindus there by any prominent paper, any program conducted by the media, any platform that has voiced the concern?
First of all, stop the atrocities against the Hindus once and for all. And this has to be ensured by mass protests by people who have Hindu and Bengali concerns in their hearts, mind, and soul. The protests should not be limited to verbal commitments, it should be tackled by stopping trade and export in case any future incidents are reported about atrocities against Hindus.
Secondly, with CAB 2016 being passed in Lok Sabha, will next be presented in Rajya Sabha. The passion, intent and information with which each blame on the cause and effect of CAB was countered by Shri Amit Shah ji, it is safe to say that it is one of the boldest move to correct the current Citizenship Act. This clears the path for all Hindus who moved to India before 2014, to be awarded citizenship. Thus, ensuring the people who have seen the hell when they saw their families being butchered need not look for the patronage of local leaders or goons to lead an honorable life in this country. Not only in WB and South Assam, but also in North Assam, these people should be given means to start a respectable life. Extremists like Assu should not find any place be it in the villages or cities of Assam. And if such terror fangs appear henceforth, then it should be the biggest priority of the Sonawal’s government to ensure that they are uprooted and left toothless.
Thirdly, an illegal immigrant (read Bangladeshi Muslim citizen) should no longer be able to step into the Indian soil. Khagragarh to Kaliyachowk are proof enough, illegal immigrants are not only changing the demography of the bordering districts fast, but they are the very reason for increased chances of security breaches.
CAB have opened a golden opportunity in the last 71 years, for vastly ignored Hindu population from East Bengal. A request to the Hindu refugees, please do not fall into the trap of the opportunist local political leadership. You too will be granted citizenship as per the international standards. What you chose today will determine the future of you and Bengal.