People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 21, 2007

‘Stop Harassing Bengali-Speaking People’

Hannan Mollah Writes To Rajasthan CM


THE BJP government of Rajasthan must take immediate measures to put a halt to the ongoing harassment of Bengali-speaking people engaged in various small jobs in the state, particularly in Jaipur.


This demand was made by Hannan Mollah, MP, chairman, Committee on Papers Laid on the Table and CPI(M) central secretariat member in a letter to Vasundhara Raje, chief minister of Rajasthan, on October 9.


A large number of Bengali-speaking workers from West Bengal are working in Jaipur. They are engaged in zari embroidery work, tailoring, jewellery making, construction work, small trade etc. They are being harassed by the Rajasthan police, terming them as foreigners and Bangladeshi citizens. Hannan Mollah pointed out to the chief minister that these workers were facing threats, extortion and arrest by the police. Despite carrying proof of their Indian citizenship, they are being branded as illegal Bangladeshi migrants.


The CPI(M) leader said that there are some illegal Bangladeshi migrants staying in Jaipur and there would be no objection if the government identifies them and takes legal action. “But if genuine Indian citizens are branded as foreigners that is bound to cause serious concern. I am giving specific incident of such harassment and attack against permanent resident of West Bengal. One Jinnat S/o Mehruddin Shaikh and Hazrat Ali S/o Samadh Shaikh live at Bagrana Kacchi Basti, Mati Ka Kothi, Kanota, Jaipur. They are engaged in some small manual jobs. They have their copies of school certificate, ration card, voter identity card and land revenue receipt etc. In spite of that they have been arrested by the police and false cases were framed against them as foreigners and sent to Jaipur central jail. Such incidents are occurring in Jaipur. Sometimes people are forced to pay heavy bribes to police.


As all English-speaking people cannot be Englishmen, similarly all Bengali-speaking people cannot be termed as Bangladeshis, stated Mollah. Pointing out that Bengali-speaking Indian citizens are living in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand, North East and in various other parts of the country, he asserted speaking Bengali must not become a crime in Jaipur. Anyone who speaks in Bengali – and if he is a Muslim – the police brad him a Bangladeshi and take him into custody. He stated that the above mentioned persons are permanent resident of Murshidabad district of West Bengal and they came to Rajasthan for work, which is a fundamental right given by the Constitution of India. “Should they be harassed like this only because they speak Bengali and they belong to Muslim community?” asked the CPI(M) MP.


Hannan Mollah pointed out how a large number of people from Rajasthan are living in West Bengal and how the government of West Bengal and the people of the state have been protecting them for ages. He said it is the duty of the Bengal government to do so and the same is expected by the people of West Bengal from the government of Rajasthan. The state government should distinguish between ‘Bangla Bhashi’ (Bengali-speaking) and Bangladeshi (citizen of Bangladesh). Only when it is sure that somebody is a foreigner, the police must take legal action.


The CPI(M) MP attached copies of proof of permanent residence of the two above-mentioned persons along with his letter for the consideration of the chief minister. He requested the chief minister to look into the matter and get the two persons released immediately. He also demanded that the matter be enquired into so that no genuine Indian citizens are harassed in future. He asked her to ensure that the genuine Indian citizens coming from different states working in her state are protected from such harassment.