New Delhi: The CPI(M) has urged the government to amend the Citizenship Act to provide citizenship to large number of refugees from Bangladesh, before and after its formation, saying there had been a consensus in Parliament when NDA was in power at the Centre.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat referred to "the citizenship problems of the large number of refugees from erstwhile East Bengal and then even after the formation of Bangladesh who had to flee their country in particular historic circumstances over which they had no control".
He said their situation was "different from those who have come to India due to economic reasons".
Karat quoted Singh`s speech in Parliament as the then Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha when the NDA government had brought the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2003.
"With regard to the treatment of refugees after the Partition of our country, the minorities in countries like Bangladesh, have faced persecution and it is our moral obligation that, if circumstances force people, these unfortunate people, to seek refuge in our country, approach to granting citizenship to these unfortunate persons should be more liberal", Singh was quoted as saying by Karat.
The CPI(M) leader also quoted then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani as saying "what the Leader of Opposition has said, I am fully in agreement with the views expressed."
Karat said the issue of amending the Citizenship Act was still pending even after a decade and, in the meanwhile, "the insecurity felt by the refugees is heightened", as in the ongoing drive for Aadhar ID cards, they were "excluded and considered illegal migrants facing the constant threat of deportation".
Maintaining that lakhs of families, majority of them from scheduled caste communities, were affected, he urged the Prime Minister to take urgent steps to amend the law and bring relief to these "unfortunate families living across India".