Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeOpinionsThe big betrayal of refugees by the Left, Congress and Trinamul MPs from Bengal

The big betrayal of refugees by the Left, Congress and Trinamul MPs from Bengal

Also Read

The partition of the country left bitter memories of mental pain and physical agonies of the most excruciating type. The net outcome was about 2 mn death and 14 mn displaced.

The horrors in riots were of unimaginable magnitude and are examples of the most bestial, inhuman behaviour. Innocent men and women were cut to pieces and not only was the modesty of women folk violated, they were deliberately and violently physically and sexually assaulted. Families, to save the modesty of their women folk, were forced to commit desperate acts like throwing their women folk into the wells alive, preferring death to disgrace. This was the price they paid for our freedom, not only in blood but also in mutilation.

Millions of Hindus migrated to India from East Bengal. The majority of them settled in West Bengal. A smaller number went to Assam, Tripura and other states. In Bengal migration occurred in a gradual fashion and continued over the next three decades following partition. The 1951 census in India recorded 2.523 million refugees from East Bengal. Among them 2.061 million settled in West Bengal. The rest went to Assam, Tripura and other states. By 1973 their number reached over 6 million.

Such people in East Bengal had contributed immensely to India’s freedom movement. Two instances would suffice.

Anushilan Samiti  was a Bengali Indian organisation that supported revolutionary violence as the means for ending British rule in India. The organisation arose from a conglomeration of local youth groups and gyms (akhara) in 1902. It had two prominent, somewhat independent, arms in East and West Bengal, Dhaka Anushilan Samiti (centred in Dhaka, modern day Bangladesh), and the Jugantar group (centred at Calcutta). The Samiti’s violent and radical philosophy revived in the 1930s, when it was involved in the Kakori conspiracy, the Chittagong armoury raid, and other actions against the administration in British-occupied India.

The famous Chittagong armoury raid on 18 April 1930 was an attempt at raiding the armoury of police and auxiliary forces, led by freedom fighter Surya Sen. The volunteers he gathered were part of a revolutionary group of nationalists who believed in using force to fight the British. The original plan was to capture two armouries in Chittagong, subsequently destroying the telegraph and telephone office. The group would then take hostages from the European Club, as most of its members were involved in the colonial government in some form. Amongst these volunteers were two incredible women: Pritilata Waddedar and Kalpana Datta. Pritilata had led a team of 40 volunteers in one of the major attacks planned by Surya Sen. Kalpana was given the responsibility of transporting explosives and other supplies, but she particularly excelled in preparing gun cotton, a certain type of explosive agent.

The point to note is that the refugees were citizens of undivided India and they were forced to flee their own homes for saving their lives after being subjected to atrocities on the grounds of religion. They are different from the migrants who left Bangladesh / Pakistan for economic reasons. Every logical mind should therefore welcome the grant of citizenship to all such people, taking into consideration historical reality and the humanitarian aspect.

That is why, on November 25 in 1947, Congress Working Committee had passed a resolution urging citizenship for these refugees. To quote ‘The Congress is bound to afford full protection to all those non-Muslims from Pakistan who have crossed the border and come over to India or may do so to save their life and honour.’

(Ref. India’s struggle for freedom: Select documents and sources by Jagadish Saran Sharma – Vol 3 p 835)

In an article ‘Congress must fulfill its promises made to the Hindu refugees’ by Bishu Duttachoudhury in Barak Bulletin dated December 4, 2018, this and other similar promises made to the refugees from Pakistan by Gandhi, Nehru, Prasad and Patel on different occasions have been elaborately mentioned.

The onus is now on the country to fulfill this promise through the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which seeks to provide expedited consideration for Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities already in India from certain contiguous countries. It seeks to address their current difficulties and meet their basic human rights.

In order to acquire citizenship in India, one needs to go through a naturalization process. One of the criteria of naturalization is that the concerned person has to live in India, or work in the Central Government for 11 years. What this Act does is that it reduces this period to six years for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The bill got passed in the Parliament. But, the opposition MPs from West Bengal have opposed the bill on the ground that it excludes the Muslims. They know that there cannot be persecution of Muslims in Islamic countries and all Muslim immigrants, mostly illegally, from Bangladesh come to India for economic reasons. Yet they oppose it only for vote bank politics. They don’t mind betraying the Hindu refugees from the partition of India in 1947. Ironically, the Left parties rode to power in West Bengal on the back of the support of the Hindu refugees from East Pakistan.

The writer is a long- standing commentator on contemporary issues.

  Support Us  

OpIndia is not rich like the mainstream media. Even a small contribution by you will help us keep running. Consider making a voluntary payment.

Trending now

- Advertisement -

Latest News

Recently Popular