Government Moves To Disenfranchise Bangladeshis

Bhubaneswar: As the election commission has begun the process of revision of voters’ list, Kendrapara district administration has moved to disenfranchise the suspected Bangladeshis whose names figured in the list of electorates.

The coastal district is home to 1,649 Bangladeshi infiltrators of which highest numbers of foreign nationals (1551) are unlawfully settled in Mahakalpada tehsil.

So far, 137 Bangladeshis were detected figuring in the voters’ list in Mahakalpada tehsil. After thorough verification of their nativity antecedents, these foreign nationals have been removed from voters’ list, said Kendrapara Collector, Dasarathi Satpathy.

The voters’ list process will continue till September 27. The officials concerned, engaged in the voters’ list revision exercise, have been asked to ensure that none of these foreign nationals find their place in the final voters’ list, he said.

As they have been enumerated officially as foreign nationals, they are bereft of citizenship rights that include the legal right cast their franchise. These foreign nationals were earlier disenfranchised following their enumeration as Bangladeshis. However some of their names might have figured in voters’ list in an act of inadvertent mistake on part officials concerned, he said.

It’s pertinent to note here that 3,987 infiltrators, all of them are from Bangladesh, continue to stay in Odisha unlawfully. The highest number of 1,649 Bangladeshi infiltrators have been staying in coastal Kendrapara district followed by 1,112 in Paradip and Jagatsinghpur. Of the 3,987 infiltrators, 1551 foreign nationals from 362 families living in Mahakalpada Tehsil of Kendrapara district had been served Quit India deportation notice on 2005. However the deportation move has been kept on hold following intervention by the then union government.

The governmental benefits that an Indian citizen is entitled had been withdrawn in a phased manner from these foreign nationals strictly in conformity with legal provisions of Foreigners’ Act, 1946. The residential nativity certificates issued to them have been nullified and their names were struck off from the voters list. Likewise subsidized ration under National Food Security Act (NFSA) is not being provided to these Bangla nationals, officials said.

In an attempt to curb influx of illegal immigrants, committees comprising revenue, police and forest officials have been constituted to intensify vigil on infiltration. These panels have been working in cohesion in infiltration-affected Maakalpada and Rajnagar tehsils, the officials said.

The employers in private sectors particularly in marine fishing sectors have been issued directions to engage people in work only after thoroughly cross-checking their nationality and antecedents. They have been warned of facing stringent legal action if found giving shelter or engaging illegal immigrants, officials concluded.