PPFA bats for refugee to minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan
Posted on September 17th, 2015

Issued by Rupam Barua, Nava Thakuria, Pramod Kalita, Anup Sarma, Jagadindra Raichoudhury, Tarali Chakrabarty for PPFA.

Guwahati, 17 September 2015:  The Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) has welcomed the Centre’s initiative to exempt the minority communities of Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have entered into India on or before 31st December last year due to religious persecution there, from the relevant provisions of rules and order made under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Foreigners Act, 1946, and said that they may be given the refugee status.

The PPFA, however, asserted that Assam alone should not be burdened with all the asylum seekers, which includes Hindus and the Union government in New Delhi must clarify its stand at the earliest over the issue.

The PPFA also demanded a concrete refugee policy with a legal framework to be adopted by New Delhi and urged the people of Assam not to get carried over by the ongoing debate of ‘granting citizenship to these minority communities from Bangladesh and Pakistan’ and said that granting mere refugee status does not mean granting citizenship to those asylum seekers.

Even though a refugee in a country is legally allowed to enjoy some basic rights for life, liberty, equality, healthcare, primary education, work etc, (s) he may not be entitled to have the status permanently. Once the refugee voluntarily prefers to return back to his/her country of origin (or any other country of his/her choice), for the situation/circumstance that made him/her a refugee is resolved/improved significantly, the asylum seeker would cease to receive those rights,” said a statement issued by the PPFA today.

The PPFA, which is a forum of like-minded nationalistic citizens, further said that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees

(UNHCR) has recognized nearly 185,000 refugees in India. It is well accepted that the actual number of refugee or asylum seekers in India from its neighbouring countries should be much higher. Though the UNHCR is functioning from its office in New Delhi, India is yet to sign the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention. More over, New Delhi has not ratified its 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees.

Need not to mention that India today officially supports nearly half a million asylum seekers from Tibet, Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan with few other countries including Bangladesh.

According to the World Refugee Survey (conducted by US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants), the estimated number of refugees who are taking shelter in India would be over 4,56,000 nationals.

The PPFA argues that the process of providing asylum to the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, Parsee nationals from Bangladesh & Pakistan should be temporary and New Delhi must continue pursuing with the authorities in Dhaka and Islamabad diplomatically to help those refugees to return to their respective countries when the situation normalize.

 

Issued by Rupam Barua, Nava Thakuria, Pramod Kalita, Anup Sarma, Jagadindra Raichoudhury, Tarali Chakrabarty for PPFA.

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