‘Pre-71 Bangladeshi settlers are Indians’

There was no scope for their deportation, says court

Bangladeshi nationals who had settled in Meghalaya, the northeastern state of India, before March 24, 1971, should be treated as Indians and could be enrolled into the voters list, the Meghalaya high court has said in a judgement.

The landmark judgment came following a petition filed by over 40 refugees who were originally from Bangladesh, who were denied enrolment in the electoral roll by the district administration citing their citizenship as doubtful, reports Times of India.

Earlier, Narendra Modi had said the illegal Bangladeshis would be sent back to Bangladesh if Bharataiya Janata Party (BJP)comes to power.

The petitioners, hailing from Amjong village near the Assam-Meghalaya border in Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district moved the high court after their citizenship certificates were seized by the deputy commissioner.

In its order, the court stated that “It is clearly understood that the forefathers of the petitioners entered India much before March 24, 1971. As such there is no question of deporting them at this stage when they have acquired the right of permanent rehabilitation in Amjong village.”

Ruling out the contention that they were Bangladesh citizens, the court said there was no scope for their deportation and directed the state government and the Centre not to disturb them, but to give them proper rehabilitation.

The state government had earlier argued that the petitioners and their forefathers were not permanent citizens and were rehabilitated temporarily by the autonomous district council.

Earlier on May 15, the court directed the district deputy commissioner to return the seized certificates to the petitioners and enroll them in the voters list before the next elections.

Source: Dhaka Tribune


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