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Pre-1971 Bangladesh settlers should be treated as Indians- Meghalaya High Court

May 22, 2014 19:00 IST

Meghalaya High Court on 15 May 2014 in its historic judgement in Shillong said that the nationals of Bangladesh, who settled in the state before 24 March 1971 should be treated as Indians. The Court also ordered that they should be enrolled in the voters list.

Justice Sudip Ranjan Sen passed the judgement on the basis of a petition filed by 40 refugees from Bangladesh. These petitioners were denied enrolment in the electoral roll by the district administration citing that their citizenship was doubtful. The refugees from Amjong village near Assam-Meghalaya border in Ri-Bhoi district moved to High Court after their citizenship certificates were seized by the district deputy commissioner.

Justice Sen also directed the deputy commissioner to return their certificates within 1 week from the date of receipt of the order. The court also directed to enroll them in voter list before the next election. In his judgement, he said that earlier, the two countries have agreed that who should be allowed to stay and who should be deported back to Bangladesh.

Justice Sen also termed that the forefathers of the petitioners entered India much before 24 March 1971 and thus, there is no question of deporting them to Bangladesh at the time, when they have acquired the right of permanent rehabilitation. Court has also directed the State and the Centre government to give them proper rehabilitation.

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