Nearly 10,000 Bangladeshi Hindu settlers in Raichur set to benefit from Citizenship Amendment Bill
While in the initial years, only land was given to them for economic sustainability, Government of India in 1979 bestowed upon them citizenship and voting rights.
Published: 11th December 2019 02:49 PM | Last Updated: 12th December 2019 07:05 AM | A+A A-
RAICHUR: The passage of the alleged highly divisive Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 in the Lok Sabha may have been drawing sharp opposition from a section of people. However, in Karnataka’s Raichur district over 20,000 people have rejoiced the mid-night development and now hoping for the smooth sail in the upper house.
The enactment of the amended law will technically make nearly 10,000 Hindu Bangladesh settlers in the four camps in Raichur eligible for securing fresh citizenship certificates. The four camps located at Sindhanur are labelled as RH2 RH3 RH4 and RH 5. RH is short for Rehabilitation. The total population of settlers here is pegged at over 20,000.
Prasen Raptana, a noted rights’ leader of the settlers himself does not have a citizenship certificate. His parents arrived to this northeastern district of Karnataka after 1971 when East Pakistan was carved out to form a new nation, Bangladesh, as these Hindus faced persecution.
While in the initial years, only land was given to them for economic sustainability, Government of India in 1979 bestowed upon them citizenship and voting rights. However, this process was stopped in 1983.
Raptana said although many was given citizenship by the government, the documents were lost as the community’ focus was on establishing liveable life. “Interestingly the copies of the citizenship that was with the government has also been lost and the same was confirmed by the many offices at district, state and national level through RTI.”
There are around 8000 to 10000 such people who technically do not have citizenship.
Pranav, another settler from one of the camps said around 10% arrived in India post-1983 after Indian government stopped issuing fresh citizenship. These people have also been denied voting rights. There are as many as over 2000 such people and they too get now hoping to get citizenship. These people are the core beneficiaries, he pointed adding they were citizenless since they started living here.
Raptana pointed that for the negligence of the government nearly 10,000 people have suffered a blow. The government officials sitting under the roof having safe shelves should had kept the documents safe, while it would be difficult to expect from the people who escaped for life were busy in setting up life. He said the Home Minister Amit Shah has categorically said that Hindus would get the certificate irrespective of whether they provide any documents or not. This means these 10,000 people can re-apply for citizenship certificates. Another settler who did not wished to be named said he is hoping for the safe passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha.