West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that the state government will regularise all refugee colonies in the state where Bangladeshi refugees are staying. The CM said that attempts will be made to regularise refugee colonies on lands belonging to central government and private parties up to 3 acres. She also announced that the displaced people will be given land rights by the state government.
The West Bengal government has already regularised 94 refugee colonies which were on state government lands, the WB CM said after a cabinet meeting today. She said that there are several refugee colonies on central government and private lands, and the state government asking them to regularise those colonies and grant then possession of the land. But the landowners have been sending eviction notices to the refugees.
Mamata Banerjee said that the refugees are living in India for a long time, since March 1971, and they are living in refugee colonies without home or land. Therefore, it is time to grant them land rights and regularise the colonies.
The announcement by the West Bengal CM came in the backdrop of central government’s announcement that the National Registrar of Citizens will be implemented all over the country. Mamata Banerjee has been a strong critic of the NRC which seeks to identify the genuine citizens of the nation.
Around 10 million refugees, both Hindus and Muslims, had entered India from East Pakistan after the military government based in West Pakistan had launched a brutal crackdown on Bengalis in East Pakistan. Most refugees had settled in West Bengal and Assam, and the government of India had clarified that India would not accept the refugees permanently. Most of the refugees were sent back to their home after the India-Pakistan war, when East Pakistan had become Bangladesh. But a substantial number of refugees remained in India even after that.