Silchar, Nov. 25: Various social organisations of Assam have requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce a comprehensive bill in the winter session of Parliament to grant citizenship to linguistic minorities who came from Bangladesh because of religious persecution.
Barak Upotyaka Banga Sahitya O Sanskriti Sammelan, a socio-cultural organisation, today sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister urging him to take steps to bring legislation to resolve the citizenship issue.
“As there is no clear data about the number of people migrating to Assam after March 24, 1971, there is a great hue and cry on the issue of the burden of settlement. A deliberate attempt to malign the linguistic minorities in general and Bengalis in particular is behind this move by the pressure groups,” said Gautam Prasad Dutta, general secretary of the Sammelan.
He said the complete 1951 voter lists are not available in many Assam districts. “There are many people who lost their ancestral documents owing to natural calamities. Past records are also not available with the government. Under such circumstances, those who do not have these documents are being treated as foreigners for no fault of their own,” he added.
The Centre had issued a gazette notification on September 7 stating that on humanitarian consideration it would exempt Bangladesh and Pakistan nationals from minority communities who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, in respect of their entry and stay in India without proper documents or after the expiry of relevant documents.
“The gazette notification is not enough to mitigate the ongoing harassment of the linguistic minorities. Therefore, there is an urgent need to bring a legislation to address the foreigners issue in Assam,” he said.
The All-India Bangalee Refugee Coordination Committee, All Assam Bangalee Youth Student Federation and other different organisations will organise a national convention on the foreigners issue in New Delhi on December 16. The members will also hold a demonstration in front of Jantar Mantar on December 17 demanding formulation of legislation to safeguard the rights of Bengalis who came to India from Bangladesh because of religious persecution.
Benimadhav Roy, one of the conveners of the convention, told The Telegraph today that they were not happy with the gazette notification. “We suspect the notification was issued just to hoodwink the people. The government knows well that a mere notification will not solve this issue. We will launch a mass agitation if the legislation is not passed in the upcoming Parliament session,” he added.