Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged the Centre to give powers to District Magistrates to issue citizenship certificates to Bangladeshis who had been staying here for more than 5 years and have valid documents.
It may be mentioned that prior to 1985, District Magistrates used to issue the same but the Centre had withdrawn the power. The reason that had been stated to withdraw the power was “terrorist activities” and some other factors.
The state government has found that people those are really fit to get the certificates are unnecessarily getting harassed. Thus people will be benefitted if the Centre considers the request and once again allows the District Magistrates to issue the certificates.
People from Bangladesh who have been staying here for more than 5 years and having all necessary documents may get the resident certificates from the District Magistrates once the Centre gives it nod.
Those who came into the country from Bangladesh before 1971 is something different and the process of giving the resident certificates to people from Bangladesh in Cooch Behar is complete. Now the step is needed to help the people in other districts.
The Centre became extra cautious and withdrew the power of the District Magistrates following the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. The Centre thought that issuing of such certificates should be stringent and the matter should not be taken leniently. The apprehension of the Centre became real when people belonging to terrorist outfits of foreign countries were caught from different parts.
It may be recalled that BJP’s All India president Amit Shah had said that West Bengal is the haven for criminals from other states and through the state, counterfeit notes was being circulated throughout the country. Narendra Modi while addressing a public rally ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 in Kolkata had also announced that the Bangladeshis those immigrated illegally will be deported if BJP was voted to power. Banerjee had criticised the statement of Modi and the issue of illegal immigration had been a long standing problem.
But amidst of all, the transfer of Chitmahal enclaves between India and Bangladesh had finally taken place. Chief Minister had described the day of transfer of enclaves as a “historical and memorable one”.