Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Need of constitutional safeguards to save Bengali Hindus

Fate of Bengali Hindus is dwindling – scores of reports, articles and meticulous investigations have evidenced this from time to time and unless something is done before long, the entire community will be doomed forever. Hence, there is the need of pro-active people to change the destiny. They can take lessons from Bimalangshu Roy Foundation in the Indian state of Assam – engaged in saving the community from ultimate ruin. It has asked for immediate interference of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to execute Immigrant (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950, in the state as per Supreme Court directives and also to render the benefit of proviso to Section 2 of the said Act to the minorities of Bangladesh, persecuted, displaced and also compelled to migrate to different parts of Assam.

Dr. Rajdeep Roy, managing trustee of the Foundation named after his father, two time MLA from Silchar and a champion of the cause of the displaced Bengali Hindus in the past, has taken a leading part in this regard. He sent a letter to Singh and Gogoi on September 19 urging upon them to ensure constitutional safeguards for the Bengali Hindus who had been forced to flee from Bangladesh.

As per Dr. Roy, he appealed to the Prime Minister to recognize the displaced Hindu Bengalis as refugees and treat them as Indian citizens.

What does the letter include? In his letter to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, Dr. Roy said the history of Bangladesh, and its transition from a secular to an Islamic State, had left in its wake several episodes of genocide of minorities forcing them to take refuge in Assam. Moreover, discriminatory laws, such as Vested Property Act 1974 under which the government could confiscate property of persons deemed enemy of the State, had been responsible for appropriation of lands of minorities , thus acting as a catalyst for forced migration of minorities.

It was in this line that the Parliament while enacting the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950 specifically protected against expulsion, persons ‘who on account of civil disturbances or fear of such disturbances’ were displaced from or left their places and subsequently residing in Assam. Such provision was made in proviso to Section 2 of the said Act and this enactment was still in force unrestrictedly in Assam.

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