NIKHIL BHARAT BENGALI UDBASTU SAMANWAY SAMITI
3, Bajrang Nagar, Jadumahal Road, Nagpur-440027 (M.S.)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 09422128897
Ref. No. NIBBUSS/0 /2012 Dt. 20-4-2012
Sub: Appeal to raise NIBBUSS issues in the Houses of ParliamentRespected Sir,
It is a great irony of fate that we are the unfortunate sufferers of the two-nation theory based on religion, which had given vent to arson and riots during partition of the nation. The freedom we gained had also brought sorrow to us for, we have lost our native place and people in the wake of crossing over the borders from erstwhile East Pakistan/Bangladesh to our own motherland. The assurances the then leadership of the nation like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dr. Rajendra Prasad had given during this period vanished in the air soon the dust settled down and those who suffered the wrath of displacement have been branded as infiltrators and refugees. In their own wordings the leadership noted: "The minority members from Hindu, Bouddha or Christian community, who wishes to come in India are welcome and protecting their religious/social rights shall be our responsibility". In fact the two-nation theory was a religion-based aspect, wherein 24 percent people of a community were allotted 26 per cent of the total land of undivided India. Had it been population-based, the existing problem would not have been cropped up at all. Who's at fault?
Pandit Nehru during his speeches specifically said: "There is no doubt, of course, that those displaced persons who have come to settle in India are bound to have their citizenship. If the law is inadequate in this respect, the law should be changed". (Refugees and other Problems, Jawaharlal Nehru speeches. Vol. 2, P.8(P 10) published in June 1967). Those displaced are still awaiting the law to be changed, in the wake of inadequate law of the land, which had failed to provide them the assurances to make them live amicably without fear. The matter did not ended here but stupendously, the law which in the later stages had seen changes got these people to be devoid of the nightmares that made them to cross over the border overnight to their own motherland. The natives of undivided land become aliens. The most surprising thing was that during the partition period no time frame was earmarked and this was the main drawback the sufferers were suppressed further under the pretext of communal and religious hideouts.
During his message to the Convention of East Bengal Refugees held in August 1947 under the Presidentship of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel said: "We cannot fully enjoy freedom that we have got until and unless we can share it with the Hindus of North and East Bengal. How can one forget the sufferings and sacrifices which they cheerfully endured for freeing our motherland from foreign dominations, their future welfare must engage the most careful and serious attention of the Government and the people of the Indian union in the light of development that may take hereafter".
Even during the 1950 riots in the East Pakistan, the situation worsened for the Hindu Bengalis, who were under tremendous pressure and the torture become unbearable. The then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru summoned two of his ministers to ascertain for the worsening situation and sent a message for the people there to decide on their own whether to continue their stay there or otherwise are welcome in India and shall be provided with equal rights as are being enjoyed by the people in India. Further during this period also, no time-bound programme was framed for those willing to cross over the boundary. The influx of those crossing the border was so high, that most of them, who crossed the land could not obtain visas, or any kind of letter from the authorities specially assigned on duty on either side. The question remains who was responsible for the catastrophe that occurred and the call given to safeguard themselves. It should not be a matter of discussion now, but those at the helm of affairs should come together and must see that the problems of these Bengali refugees should be settled for once and all so that they will have no grudge to live peacefully and prosper in the mainstream.
Further, it is also a question to be noted and does require reciprocated glance that most of the influx of these Bengali refugees (the so called) did occurred during 1947 and 1951, when there was no law in the land for the refugees or grant of citizenship to decide the authenticity and was not a question because not only the Bengalis did crossed over the border from either the Eastern side or the Western side of Indian undivided land, but there were people belonging to different communities and religions, and the law of the Citizenship Act came into being in the year 1955, almost four long years after the 1950 riots and arson in the East Pakistan, wherein the communal aspect spearheaded the hatred playing its trump to humiliate the Hindus living in there. The leadership played its role to safeguard the interest of those willing to crossover the border, but failed to provide them the fundamental rights, which they ought to have been obtained soon after entering the Indian land and are suffering the lack of pursuance of the citizenship issue of these people.
The overall population increase in India was 21.51 percent during 1951 to 1961. But at the same time, the population increase in West Bengal alone was 32.80 per cent. It was because of the influx of Bengalis coming over from East Bengal. Inspite of the fact of nil infiltration from Bangladesh side till 2001, the government at the Centre brought the citizenship amendment act in the year 2003. What sort of point the government served in bringing this Act ?.
Creation of Bangladesh in 1971 saw another trouble-shooter for the Bengalis there, who till that date were feeling and expecting peaceful life, but the situation remained the same. The name of the country changed for the namesake, but the character did not. It discarded secularism and declared itself a Islamic country in the year 1988, further bomb shelling the other communal population living there to feel unsafe in the prevailing conditions.
It is worth noting that even during the debate on Citizenship Amendment Act 2003, the then opposition leader Dr. Manmohan Singh opposed the Bill. The then Deputy PM Mr. Lal Krishna Advani supporting the views of Manmohan Singh assured the House to see that special provisions would be made to safeguard the Hindu, Sikh and Christian refugees coming from Pakistan, East Pakistan/ Bangladesh, but unfortunately, it did not materialized. We do welcome the 2004 amendment to provide citizenship to Pakistani Sindhi and Punjabi migrants in Gujarat and also expect to implement the same for Bengali refugees also. The Citizenship Amendment Act 2003 had snatched away the right of majority of these refugees of being Indian. Now the question arises, where shall all these displaced (the refugees) go and which country is to shelter them. What is their crime, that their forefathers shed blood during freedom struggle; they were the native of the eastern part of undivided India; they put in their utmost efforts to develop the unfurtile land allotted to them in the remote and far off places; but alas they are still waiting for more than 60 years for the ownership rights, or they only belong to the economically backward community reeling under poverty or otherwise they have migrated from the land outside undivided India? The Bengali refugees include a majority of those belonging to minority class, who are eligible to receive the caste certificates belonging to SC/ST category. States like Assam, West Bengal, Mizoram and four other states have already provided this facility, but in other states, this facility is not provided.
The sons of this undivided land (Hindu Bengali refugees coming over from the eastern parts of the country, which during partition become East Pakistan and later renamed as Bangladesh) have been forced to lead a miserable life of foreigners in their own country. The most surprising thing is that out of the total 6 lakh people marked as d-voters in Assam which includes Hindus as well as people from other religion, almost 60% i.e. 3.60 lakh belong to Hindu Bengali refugees termed as D-voters, 400 have been illegally placed in the detention camps.
The insane and disheartening situation, which the Bengalis are experiencing had an isolated example, a blot on the administrative lethargy and highhandedness in detaining an 8-year child from village Kasashila, post Rajamayong, p.s. Mayong, District Morigaon in Assam is an example to be pointed out. The child has been kept in the Kokrazhar detention camp (Assam) irrespective of pending judicial and factual enquiry since 22nd October, 2010 vide Foreigners (Tribunal) Act case No. 137/06 WP(c)4190/10. This is a sort of human rights violation since the child is a minor and her parents are untraceable. What else the officials have subjected to them is a big question mark since no one knows what happened to them. What is the crime committed by the child, and how long will she be there in the detention camp is an unanswerable tag. Lost in the sea of humane, will anyone come forward to get the child released from the jail? This is not the question related with Assam, but the situation for the Bengali refugees is same in all other states, where they have taken shelter and are suffering, but there are a few only who are hearing the hues and cries of these helpless lot.
The Assam govt. has brought in force the Foreigners Act in 2005, which was implemented by the British Government in 1946 to prevent the Japanese and Chinese people to enter the Indian territory under Section 9 of the Act. In an overall view, more than 5 lakh members of the Hindu Bengali community refugees are suffering the torturous treatment from the government under different provisions of this act.
Being the champion and supporter of democracy, we urnestly appeal your authority to come above the party line and join us to fight against the injustice meted out during all these 65 long years of achieving freedom. We want only our just rights and nothing other than that, which are bestowed upon those living in this land. It is our right also to call upon you in the interest of strengthening the democracy, which we think is the need of the hour. And you being the representative of the people, supposed to raise voice in the House for providing us our rights. We are not in any way claiming for which is not ours, but only asking for the rightful demands, based on humanitarian grounds.
The demands include
- Making relevant provision for the Hindu Bengali refugees coming from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to provide them Indian citizenship. 2) Issuing caste certificates to those belonging to the relevant castes among the minority Bengali community, which is in vogue in six states of India. 3) Issuance of permanent patta (land) and the ownership rights to those rehabilitated refugees at different places. 4) Inclusion of names in the voters list which have been deleted earlier, so that the community members can franchise their right of voting. 5) Release of those Hindu Bengali refugees detained under the pretext of foreigners act; withdrawal of all cases registered under this act against the community members and stopping harassment against these people. 6) Facilitate the children of these people through mothertongue from primary level education and cultural development 7) Issuance of ownership rights of the agricultural land given to the Hindu Bengali refugees along with the property cards.
We therefore request your kind authority to pursue the matter in the House of Parliament for the betterment of the Hindu Bengali community which is reeling under hardships. We shall be grateful to you for the efforts in fulfilling the demands of crores of Bengali refugees.
Thanking in anticipation.
Dr. Subodh Biswas
Nikhil Bharat Bengali Udbastu Samanway Samiti