Posted on February 5, 2020, 1:46 PM IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who is already against CAA has warned the Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who already have various government documents, against applying for Indian citizenship under the provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Mamata Banerjee alleged that this would label them as foreigners for five years and land them in deep trouble. She said this while addressing a public rally at Hindu migrant-dominated Bongaon area in the Bangladesh-bordering district of North 24-Parganas.
She also assured them that the state government, by providing land rights to residents of all refugee colonies, has ensured their Indian citizenship.
Hence, no one has to be afraid of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and fall in the “trap of CAA,” she said.
“The moment you fill up the form (for citizenship under CAA), you are in trouble. You will become a foreigner for five years. The lose the property recorded in your name because you are a foreigner. Your business loses recognition. Can you understand how dangerous the plot is?” she asked.
Banerjee is on a two-day tour of the districts of North 24-Parganas and Nadia, both bordering Bangladesh. Hindu migrants from Bangladesh make up a significant chunk of the population. She is slated to address a rally at Ranaghat in Nadia district on Tuesday.
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wrested both the Bongaon and Ranaghat parliamentary seats from her Trinamool Congress (TMC).
“From Ranaghat, Kalyani, Gayeshpur and Chakdah to Krishnaganj… There are many refugee colonies. Many of you must have got unconditional land rights. The rest will get it in the coming days,” she said in Bongaon.
“Do you know who started the process of giving unconditional land right? I did. When I was the MP from Jadavpur (1984-1989), the local people asked me to ensure unconditional land rights for the refugees. And I did it,” she said.
The chief minister said as many as 84 colonies have already been issued land rights and those on land belonging to the central government have been recognised by the state government.
“I have done this to ensure that they (the Centre) can’t tell our mothers that they are not citizens because they do not have land records. All colonies are recognised now. There is not a single unrecognised refugee colony in Bengal right now.”
BJP leaders shot back, saying she was leading a misinformation campaign.
“I am sorry to say that she is resorting to lies and misleading people. If anyone from the six religions specified in CAA declares himself as a refugee, the person will be treated as a citizen from the person’s self-declared date of arrival in India. And, the person will retain all rights and benefits that he enjoys at present,” the convener of the BJP’s refugee cell in Bengal, Mohit Ray, said.
Ray said that land rights given by the state government carry no value because no one who has arrived in India from Bangladesh after 1972 is officially treated as a refugee and there is no refugee colony on official records for people who migrated after 1972.
“Let the government produce a single document showing the existence of refugee colonies for those who migrated after 1972,” Ray said.