Mamata Banerjee’s love for illegal immigrants, specifically those who belong to a particular community is not new. Given the fact that they are Mrs Banerjee’s most loyal vote bank, she takes care of them, even at the risk of national security, and socio-economic development of the state.
In her latest push to legalize illegal immigrants, AITC government is issuing ‘non-subsidised ration cards’, which can be used as identity proof, just like Aadhaar, PAN & voter identity cards.
“There are some people who do not take the subsidised food grains, but retain the cards for identity or as address proof,” said Mamata Banerjee. “We have directed the administration to issue two types of cards. People can apply for non-subsidised ration cards as identity proof,” she added.
According to BJP leaders, TMC government is taking this step to neutralize the impact of NRC. Ahead of West Bengal assembly election, NRC has become major point of contention between TMC and BJP, which is major opposition for all practical purpose. A few days ago, Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the government is planning a nationwide NRC exercise, to prepare comprehensive data of legal citizens and identify illegal immigrants.
West Bengal is the second most affected states with illegal immigrants after Assam. After the 1971 war, almost 1 crore Bangladeshis migrated to Assam and West Bengal, and very few of them left back to homeland. West Bengal also suffers from large number of Rohingya migrants, who are also a major security threat.
If TMC government successfully implements the non-subsidized ration cards, almost every illegal immigrant will be regularized. “We have already submitted a detailed report to the central government about this entire process. This is a massive exercise she has taken up to provide the illegal immigrants an identity proof,” said Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP’s national general secretary. “The MHA is aware of such an exercise. She is scared of NRC and misleading people. She knows that her vote bank of infiltrators will be removed under such exercise. But she will not succeed in such efforts.”
Mamata Banerjee government has also decided to regularize all the illegal colonies, where more than two lakh illegal immigrants, who moved to state after 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. These illegal immigrants are concentrated in border districts like North and South 24 Parganas, North and South Dinajpur, Nadia, Murshidabad, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling.
The move to regularize the illegal colonies will neutralize central government’s NRC exercise and Citizenship Amendment Bill’s push. Mamata Banerjee clearly said that refugees are “na ghar ka na ghat ka (don’t belong anywhere)”, and therefore it is necessary to regularize the illegally occupied land and hence the citizenship. “We earlier started a process to regularise 94 such refugee colonies,” said Mamata Banerjee.
The chief minister claimed that her government has regularized the land of 70,000 families and the process to regularize another 1.25 lakh families has started.
“As far as the central government plots are concerned, the refugees settled there often get eviction notices. This is a huge problem. It has been 48 years, and no serious action was taken to address this problem. So, we have decided to regularise land up to three acres at a time,” she said.
According to BJP leaders, her decision to regularize the colonies on land owned by central government is illegal. The leaders also threatened legal action against Banerjee government. The government’s decision to woo illegal immigrants, just because they can turn into loyal vote bank, is dangerous for national security as well as the socio-economic condition of the state. This will also anger the citizens of West Bengal, who had to bear the burden of illegal immigrants.