"There were 200 families who came to India in 1952. We were given five acres, a one-room house and a pair of bulls," claimed Anukul Chandra Das from Ramia Behad block in Kheri.
A group of migrants from East Pakistan—now Bangladesh – sat in the front row, carrying placards, as Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressed a rally here in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Raising slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram, they hailed the amended citizenship law, saying now they will have access to all necessary facilities.
“There were 200 families who came to India in 1952. We were given five acres, a one-room house and a pair of bulls,” claimed Anukul Chandra Das from Ramia Behad block in Kheri. He said in 1964, the land grant was reduced to 3.5 acres from five acres.
“Those who came after 1964 were not even registered. Now, we are hopeful of getting all facilities after the implementation of the CAA ,” he added. Das said he was just 14 when his family migrated from East Pakistan’s Faridpur district.
Initially, they lived in a transit camp in Raipur. He claimed that later they went to Udham Singh Nagar and Rudrapur, from where they were sent to Kheri by the government. Like Das, there were many others claiming to be Hindu refugees and were seen sitting in front row.
Nirmal Vishwas (65) from Ravindra Nagar, Kheri, said he came to India at the age of eight in 1964 and his father had passed away in Kolkata before they could reach here. He said the new law will help them get their rights.
According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 to escape religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. It does not include Muslims.
Those opposing the CAA have contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along with the NRC is intended to target the Muslim community in India.
However, the central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away citizenship from anyone.