Union home ministry emails citizenship certificates to eight in Bengal

Thursday 06th June 2024 03:29 EDT

New Delhi: The Union home ministry last week emailed citizenship certificates to at least eight people from Bengal ahead of the last phase of elections, which includes constituencies like Barasat, Dum Dum, Jadavpur and Basirhat with significant refugee population.

“The process of granting citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, has now commenced in the State of West Bengal, where the first set of applications from the state were granted citizenship by the Empowered Committee, West Bengal,” a press release issued by the ministry reads.

Of the eight, one is from Nadia and seven are from various places in North 24-Parganas.

Although the election in Nadia was over, nine constituencies, including three of North 24 Parganas - Dum Dum, Barasat, and Basirhat, went to the polls on June 1. After the CAA rules were notified, the first set of citizenship certificates was handed over to 14 persons in New Delhi on May 15.

Giving citizenship certificates to the first set of eight people from Bengal since the notification of the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024, assumes significance as chief minister Mamata Banerjee has claimed that those staying in the country with voting rights are already citizens of India.

A section of people from the Matua community is also in a dilemma over applying for citizenship status as it is mandatory to submit documents proving their connection with Bangladesh. As a large number of them do not have any document to prove their Bangladeshi roots, most Matuas are yet to apply for citizenship, a source said.

A BJP leader, however, said these citizenship certificates would help convince refugees to apply for the status.

“Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she would not allow CAA to be implemented in Bengal. Today, eight Bengalis received their citizenship certificates.... Those who received their citizenship status will not face any problem staying in the country. This is called Modi’s guarantee, and no power can stop CAA. All refugees will get their citizenship status,” BJP leader Jagannath Chattopadhyay wrote on his social media handle.

Bikash Mondal, 34, now living with his elderly parents, wife, and three-year-old son in Nadia’s Bhimpur, is one among those who received citizenship status. He applied for it after the notification of the rules in March this year.

He came from Jhenaidah in Bangladesh in December 2012, claiming that as a Hindu he was forced to leave his country because of religious persecution.

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