For Hindu refugees in Assam, survival hinges on CAA | India News

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Rasendra Hajong was four when he, along with his family, fled religious persecution in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and entered India through Dalu border in 1965. He is 63 now, lives 55-odd km from Guwahati at Bamunigaon refugee camp, and is enlisted as an Indian voter. But his citizenship is under a cloud. Same is the case with more than 100 families at the camp, which was set up in the mid-1960s for Hindu refugees coming from East Pakistan.
After failing to make it to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft that was released in 2019, they have now pinned their hopes on Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). A total of 19.06 lakh people were left out of NRC, which identifies foreigners illegally living in Assam. Most of them had applied for necessary documents by submitting refugee registration certificates. But that proved futile for a large number of refugees. In south Assam’s Barak Valley, Maya Das (45), who was born in Cachar, has been left out of NRC as she has no documents to prove her lineage. “I was born in Digorkhal tea estate. My mother died in 1999, and father in 2007. Who will tell me where we came from?” asked the unlettered housewife. “She is a Hindu without any ancestral link in Assam. It can be assumed her family came from then East Pakistan. Is it possible to search for documents by crossing over to Bangladesh?” asked a local.
CAA was implemented with LS polls around the corner and sparked a fresh outcry in Assam, where the issue of illegal foreign settlers is a sensitive one. Opposition parties, including Congress, have made it a major poll plank, saying it goes against the Assam Accord. Signed in 1985, the pact between the Centre and Assam govt was meant to address the foreigner issue.

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