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Muslims say they are more likely to be deported than Hindus from Indian border to Bangladesh

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An Indian supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds a placard during a protest against what participants say is the illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh to the northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 18, 2012. Source: VOA
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  • For the past 25 years, border police in Assam are trying to catch illegal Bengali-speaking immigrants who settled in the region after March 1971
  • The Assam border police identify suspected Bangladeshis and asks for citizenship proof if they fail to provide it they sent the case to Foreigner’s Tribunal
  • But there are man cases where the border police were biased against Muslims despite having proof of citizenship
  • One such case is of Bengali Muslim Mainal Mollah, who despite showing various documents that his family stayed in Assam for generations, the border police still referred the case to the Foreigner’s Tribunal which declared him an illegal immigrant

September 10, 2016: Bengali Muslim Mainal Mollah considers himself lucky. Although a foreigners tribunal in India’s northeastern Assam state declared him an illegal immigrant, he managed to walk out of a detention camp last month, after languishing there for three years.

“A foreigners tribunal declared that I was a foreigner and sent me to a detention camp from where I was to be pushed back to Bangladesh. This happened very strangely in my case after another tribunal had declared that my parents were Indian citizens,” Mollah said.

“Some rights activists took my case to the big court [Supreme Court in Delhi] and finally I came out of the camp. I am lucky that I did not die in the camp, where in horrible condition many perished before me, and that I didn’t have to go through a traumatizing situation of being pushed back to Bangladesh.”

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Despite several documents showing his family had lived in Assam for generations, Mollah landed in the detention camp to be sent to Bangladesh, said Aman Wadud, with the civil rights group MY-FACTS.

“There are documents showing that Moinal Mollah’s grandfather had held land in Assam in 1938. The names of Moinal’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather figured in the National Register of Citizens of 1951. After a tribunal had declared him a foreigner, Moinal produced all the related documents before the Honorable Gauhati High Court, while filing writ petitions,” Wadud, a human rights lawyer, told VOA.

“But, the Honorable High Court upheld the tribunal’s verdict and ordered his deportation to Bangladesh.”

Indian citizens victimized

After the Supreme Court in July ordered a retrial for Mollah’s case, MY-FACTS managed to get him out of the detention camp on bail. Wadud said he was hopeful that Mollah will be declared an Indian citizen soon.

For more than a century, Hindus and Muslims have moved from the region that is now Bangladesh to Assam to earn their living. But India regards any Bengali-speaking people who settled in Assam after March 1971 to be illegal immigrants.

The Assam Border Police identify suspected Bangladeshis and send their cases to the foreigner’s tribunal if they fail to produce citizenship documents. Last month, the police reported that in 25 years the tribunals had declared about 53,000 people to be foreigners.

Rights activists say, however, many of those people often are Indian citizens who get caught in miserable situations.

“The Border Police are supposed to conduct investigations before forwarding the Reference Cases to the tribunals. But, rarely do they investigate the cases at this point. They often file the cases against people despite [the fact] they have all valid Indian citizenship documents, because of a communal bias and also when they fail to extort the demanded bribes from the poorer victims,” Wadud said.

Migrant Muslim women are seen at a health mission in Baralakhaiti village, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Gauhati, Assam State, India, Feb. 10, 2014. Source: VOA
Migrant Muslim women are seen at a health mission in Baralakhaiti village, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Gauhati, Assam State, India, Feb. 10, 2014.
Source: VOA

“So, it’s easy to figure out why over 95 percent of the people, who were identified as suspected citizens by border police in the past few years, have been declared Indian citizens by the tribunals. … That the Muslims are becoming victims of a bias is clear from the fact that over 80 percent of the Reference Cases involved Muslims,” Wadud added.

Residency for non-Muslims

Assam Muslim community leader Hafiz Ahmed told VOA that since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the Assam government in May, an increasing number of Indian Muslims are being targeted.

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“Previously they identified only the Bengali-speaking people as suspected Bangladeshis. But since BJP took charge of Assam, even the indigenous Assamese Muslims, who do not speak Bengali and had their forefathers living here for over several centuries are being suspected as illegal Bangladeshis,” Ahmed, who leads the All India Secular Forum in Assam, said.

A BJP spokesperson in Assam, Jayanta Malla Baruah, said the state government has never taken any action that shows that it is biased against Muslims.

Indian Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against tensions in India's northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 8, 2012. Source:VOA
Indian Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against tensions in India’s northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 8, 2012.
Source:VOA

“The previous Congress [Party]-led government was lax in action against the illegal immigrants. But our new government in Assam is acting properly, following the orders of the foreigner’s tribunals. It’s incorrect if someone finds anything anti-Muslim in these actions,” Baruah said.

Nationwide, the BJP-led Indian government announced in June that it was working toward granting citizenship to non-Muslims who, after facing religious persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh, came to India and settled here by 2014.

Prasenjit Biswas, a professor at North Eastern Hill University in Shillong, India, noted that government promises of residency rights for non-Muslims have widened the contrast in how a suspected Bangladeshi Hindu compared to a suspected Bangladeshi Muslim is treated in Assam.

“Although the rule of law in India does not allow any such discrimination in the name of religious identities, yet in the name of religious persecution, Hindus are being given a right to residence, while denying the same to Muslims on the basis of their religion. This has created a lot of fear and has cast a shadow of insecurity in the social psyche of the Muslims,” Biswas said. (VOA)

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  • amrik

    Errr… wasnt it muslims that wanted their own land?

    • asit guin

      During British rule , upto 1947 15th august, human thoughts were not normal.

  • login2ak

    Modus Operandi of Muslims in Subcontinent…. Invade land, reproduce without any barrier, don’t bother focusing on education, become majority in certain regions, demand separate country, forcefully secede territories driving out native populace, become a failed state in 50 years with an over-populating demographic, start invading neighboring lands … and repeat the entire process again.

    • asit guin

      Myanmar is deporting Muslims to bangl. from Bangladesh, Hindus are being deported everyday. are these funs ? What UNO is doing ?

  • amrik

    Errr… wasnt it muslims that wanted their own land?

    • asit guin

      During British rule , upto 1947 15th august, human thoughts were not normal.

  • login2ak

    Modus Operandi of Muslims in Subcontinent…. Invade land, reproduce without any barrier, don’t bother focusing on education, become majority in certain regions, demand separate country, forcefully secede territories driving out native populace, become a failed state in 50 years with an over-populating demographic, start invading neighboring lands … and repeat the entire process again.

    • asit guin

      Myanmar is deporting Muslims to bangl. from Bangladesh, Hindus are being deported everyday. are these funs ? What UNO is doing ?

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.