After Assam’s NRC for identifying illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and sending them back, Odisha has acted against the illegal immigrants. The state has reportedly started disenfranchising suspected immigrants whose names currently feature in the voters’ list. This is expected to give a huge boost to the demand of expelling illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
The State Election Commission has revised the electoral list in the district of Kendrapara, and the names of almost 137 illegal immigrants have been stuck off. A verification of the background including Nativity and antecedents of these immigrants had been done before they were disenfranchised. The above-mentioned district has around 2,000 Bangladeshis and a total of 4,000 Bangladeshis are currently staying in the state of Odisha. Paradip and Jagatsinghpur are other districts in the state having a high number of immigrants.
In 2005 also, the Odisha government had tried taking action against illegal Bangladeshi immigrants by serving a deportation notice upon 362 families living in Mahakalpada Tehsil. However, at that time the Congress led UPA government which was in power had intervened and the deportation had to be kept on hold. Committees consisting of revenue, police and forest officials have been formed to intensify vigil on infiltration. The object of these committees is to curb the influx of illegal immigrants and the committees are working in cohesion in infiltration-affected Maakalpada and Rajnagar tehsils.
This decision by the Odisha government deserves all the praise in the world. It sets a very good precedent and makes it clear that illegal immigrants cannot be allowed to exercise rights which accrue only to the citizens of India. This also makes it clear that notwithstanding all the political opposition, the immigrants will have to be ultimately deported. This should not only be seen as a bold move by the Odisha government but also as a vindication of the NRC in Assam which had to be conducted despite severe political opposition.
Above all, this comes as a ray of hope for the state of West Bengal which has been badly affected by illegal immigration and a stern message for the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee. She has been repeatedly opposing the move of driving out illegal immigrants only because the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants form her core vote bank. Not only this, she also gave open threats of a bloodbath and civil war if the NRC was conducted. She even dared the centre to conduct an NRC thereby clearly challenging India’s sovereign rights over its territorial limits and went on to add that if the centre tried conducting such an exercise in Bengal, “they will understand what Bengal is made of.”
With Odisha also acting against the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, Mamata Banerjee will now come under immense pressure to act against illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. She will have to understand that national security is the Paramount consideration and definitely above petty politics and vote bank politics based on religion and ethnicity. Mamata Banerjee is not going to have much support from the rest of the political spectrum as both the neighbouring states which are affected from the same issue have taken a decision which is in direct contradiction to the political stand taken by her.