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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 ?

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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 ?

Next Story

Cricket madness in Chicago

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

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Cricket has become a popular sport in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city.

WLCA Working Committee

Hari Mohan, Harshavardhna Hedge, Kunal Tembhurne, Niranjan Kulkarni, Saurabh Nigam, Shreenidhi Bharadwaj, Shekar Reddy Palla, Shwetabh Gaurav, Sunil Saini, Vivek Sarkar

About:

Cricket is more a religion, less a sport in India. People are obsessed with the sport and magnitude of love cannot be defined in words.

In the United States, Baseball, Basketball and Soccer are obviously more popular. However, Cricket has a strong presence due to the passion and love of Indians for the game. The Indian community in USA avidly plays and promotes cricket and, in the process comes closer to each other.

The passion for the game is unreal in USA too. Working men enjoy the sport in their free time. They even book grounds (baseball/soccer grounds) to practice and conduct tournament matches. The players are from all backgrounds – students, businessmen, lawyers, IT professionals to doctors. They all take out time out of their busy schedules and come together to rejoice the gentleman’s game in the windy city.

Cricket
The tournament played between Chicago Centaurs and Arrigo Avengers.

Tournaments in Chicago

As cricket has a strong presence in Chicago, many friendly yet competitive tournaments are conducted by cricket fanatics to keep the game alive.

Chicagotwenty20 tournament

Chicagotwenty20 is the oldest cricket tournament that was conducted in Chicago. It’s first season took place in 2009 and the tenth season was played in 2018. The league is played in 20 overs format. 56 teams participate from Chicago and are divided into groups 4 with 14 teams in each group.  Each team has a squad of 16 players with 11 playing and rest 5 as extras. Each team has a home ground. 7 matches are played at home ground and the rest at the opponent’s ground. The top eight teams from each group are qualified for the quarter finals. The tournament is almost four months long. The best player of the winning team is awarded the man of the match in every match. Best Batsman, Best bowler, MVP ( most valuable player) awards are given at the end of the season.

The 2018 season was won by team Yorkers. The Best Batsman, Highest score and the MVP award was given to Mr Pavan Shetty of team Yorkers, who scored 418 runs. The best bowler award was given to Sivakumar for taking 27 wickets.

WLCA Super 8 tournament

WLCA (West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago) was formed by four IT professionals in 2016 with the sole objective of promoting the game of cricket in Chicago City area. Based out of vibrant and affluent Chicago West Loop, WLCA is an assemblage of 300+ cricket players. These cricket enthusiasts come from different walks of life being corporate professionals, UIC/IIT students and local businessmen. There are hundreds of followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Cricket
This is the team who connected via the meetup link which has more than 300 members.

WLCA mainly involve in:

  • Organize annual cricket tournament
  • Coordinate weekly cricket games in different Chicago City park locations
  • Coordinating friendly games with other known Chicago Suburban teams
  • WLCA team represented Chicago City in other Chicagoland tournaments including Chicago T20 League and Soha Cup
  • Maintaining and making available Cricket Equipment Kit free of cost to playing group

The WLCA hosts Super 8 Cricket tournament which started in 2017 by the West Loop cricket association (WLCA). It is played under the format of 8 overs and 8 players in each team. This concept of tournament was the first to be launched by WLCA in Chicago. This is the shortest time-consuming format (2 days) and the played at the heart of Chicago Downtown. The first season was extremely successful (12 teams) and participating teams called out as the best organized cricket tournament amongst many happening in Chicago.

Season 2 played in 2018 organized by WLCA had 16 teams divided into four groups with four teams in each group. The semi-finals and final are played with 10 overs. There is a man of the match, best bowler, best fielder award for every match

Here is the fixture and schedule of Season 2:

There are 16 teams participating in this short format cricket tournament.

16 team is divided into 4 groups.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Winter Wolves (A1) Chicago Wild Kittens(B1) Arrigo Avengers(C1) Super 9s(D1)
Dark Knights (A2) Challengers(B2) Cook County(C2) Chicago Super Kings(D2)
Chicago Centaurs(A3) Hunters (B3) Westside Wolves(C3) River City (D3)
International Khiladies (A4) Ballers(B4) Knights(C4) CSK+(D4)

Each team in the group will play only two matches with the other two teams.

From each group top two teams will be qualified for the quarterfinals, then semis and finals.

Chicago Centaurs were the Champions and Super 9s were the runners up.

Female cricket players
Female cricket players. Pixabay

The tournament has become a big deal in no time. It was sponsored by big names like USBank (thanks to Susan Brown), Lodha Group (this group was also the associated sponsor of Ind vs, Eng Test Series in 2018) and Metra Spice Mart (Only Indian Grocery Store in Chicago Downtown). The tournament has gained momentum in no time and is likely to do so in the years to come.

Keeping the game alive overseas

Cricket has become a huge deal in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city. Tournaments like above help in maintaining healthy competition and something to be excited for.

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

“My favourite sport and always loved to watch and play the game anywhere in the world anytime. Always loved to organize these kinds of tournament from childhood so continuing the same thing outside the country”, Says Harshavardhna Hedge, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.

The Indian Cricket Team
The Indian Cricket Team

“Well I love the sport and love my country. We get to relive our childhood and impart love for the game to the next generation. The community comes together and enjoy, and we also return to the society through charity”, Says Hari Mohan, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.