With the health setback last week, permission denial for landing by helicopter and helipad, all the arm twisting tactics of DIDI, had gone in vain.  Amit Shah, party chief, BJP, on Tuesday, kick started his party campaign and addressed the large congregation, said all Bengali refugees will be granted citizenship with the passage of the CITIZENSHIP BILL. Speaking at a rally in Malda, Amit Shah took on the ruling Trinamool Congress and said the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be for restoring democracy in the State.

In the meanwhile, The CITIZENSHIP BILL, was passed in Lok Sabha on January 8th, which seeks to provide Indian Citizenship to NON-MUSLIMS from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A large section of people in the North East have opposed the Bill, saying it would nullify the provisions of the ASSAM ACCORD of 1985, which was fixed on March 24th, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants irrespective of religion. In Dhubri district on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra river, various political, social and student organisations took out a massive rally to protest against the Bill and demanded its withdrawal. Protests against it have been continuing in the North East for nearly four weeks now.

In the meeting at Malda  Amit Shah said, “I want to assure that all the Bengali refugees will be given citizenship under the Citizenship Bill. The TMC Government has done nothing for the refugees but we will give them CITIZENSHIP”.  Taking a jibe at the rally, of opposition parties in Kolkata, he said the anti-BJP parties did not utter “Bharat Mata Ki jai” or “Vande Mataram” even once during the public meeting, but kept chanting “Modi Modi”.

 He alleged that the “MAHAGATHBANDHAN” of opposition parties was meant for “gaining power and serving personal interests”. “Mahagathbandhan” is all about greed and lust. They want to remove Modi, while we want to remove poverty and corruption he said. Describing the Trinamool Congress dispensation as a “government that facilitates murders” and the party will be ousted in the general elections.

Let’s delve more into the CITIZENSHIP BILL, this bill is to immediately help 31000 immigrants. The majority of the beneficiaries may be Pakistani immigrants with as many as 34817 issued long-term visas between 2011 and January 8th 2019. It’s also reported that about 187 Bangladeshis were granted long-term visa from 2011 to January 8th 2019.

Around 31000 immigrants from minority communities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, granted long-term visa by India on grounds of “religious persecution” and who have applied for Citizenship will be the immediate beneficiaries of the proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act. However contrary to the perception, that the bill will confer citizenship on a large number of Bangladeshi immigrants living in Assam, no more than 187 Bangladeshis were granted long-term visa from 2011 to January 8th 2019.

The religion wise break-up of Pakistani long-term visa holders was not available though as per the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Citizenship Amendment Bill, there were 31,313 migrants of which, 25447 Hindus, 5807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, two Buddhists, two parsis, from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh staying on long-term visas. While 15,107 Pakistani long-term visa holders are living in Rajasthan, 1560 are in Gujarat, 1444 in Madhya Pradesh, 599 in Maharashtra, 581 in Delhi, 342 in Chattisgarh and 101 in Uttar Pradesh.

As per the JPC report laid in both houses of parliament on January 7th this year, intelligence Bureau, in its deposition before the committee had said, 31,313 minorities from the three countries granted long-term visa based on claims of “religious persecution” and who had applied for citizenship, would be immediate beneficiaries of proposed changes in the CITIZENSHIP ACT. However, it added that others who did not claim, “religious persecution” at the time of their arrival in India would find it difficult to do so now. “Any future claim will be enquired into, including through RAW, before a decision (on grant of citizenship) is taken, the IB Director told the panel.

He even hinted that even the 31,313 immigrants on long-term visa could be subjected to fresh security vetting. The purpose of such verification would be to establish if during the applicant’s stay in India, anything adverse had come to notice of security agencies and if the applicant intended to or was noticed indulging in activities prejudicial to the Nation.

When asked, by the JPC, if only 31,313 persons would be benefitted, the IB Director had said, “yes, because they have claimed, they have applied. There will be many others who might have come and they might have already taken citizenship by various means. They might have obtained passport, ration card, registered themselves in the voters list. So, for all practical purposes they are already citizens of this country”.

This campaign by Amit Shah, has been well received with aplomb,