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BJP Turns The Spotlight On 1979 Killings Of Refugees In Bengal

On Monday, rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members paid tribute to Bangladeshi immigrants who were reportedly slain by police in Marichjhapi, West Bengal's on the 31st of January, 1979. The refugees landed in India following the Bangladesh Liberation War which was held in 1971, with Dalits accounting for the majority of those murdered.

The tribute occurred as Dalit Matua leaders of Bharatiya Janata Parties Bengal unit's demanded the Citizenship Amendment Act be implemented immediately (CAA). The law was introduced in 2019 in expediting the citizenship procedure for non-Muslims who entered India before 2015 from bordering nations such as Bangladesh. The Bharatiya Janata Parties local unit is split on the CAA's execution concerns.


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The Centre has stated that it is working on legislation to implement the CAA, which Bengal's governing Trinamool Congress (TMC) has criticised as divisive. Amit Shah the  Union home minister said, in the headquarters of the Matua Mahasangha in Thakurnagar, a month before the assembly elections last year that the Centre would implement the CAA after the vaccination campaign throughout the nation was completed and the Covid-19 outbreak was ended.

Shantanu Thakur, who is the president of the All India Matua Mahasangha, escorted Narendra Modi the prime minister to Bangladesh soon before the March and April elections. Modi prayed in the Matua temple, which is located near Dhaka.

After Thakur, who has been advocating for the execution of the CAA, was appointed to the Union Cabinet, it was perceived as the Bharatiya Janata Parties effort to maintain Matua favour.

On Monday, Bharatiya Janata Parties Agnimitra Paul and two Matua legislators, Ashok Kirtania and Ambika Roy, who are believed to be connected to Thakur, spoke to a crowd on Kumirmari island in Marichjhapi and laid bouquets at a martyr's memorial. Only the Bharatiya Janata Party, according to Roy, can address the Matuas' concerns.

On the 4th of January, four Matua community MPs and Thakur quit the West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party Group chats. Thakur claimed that his group was underrepresented in the 22nd of December organisational committees.

Kirtania stated that they did not go to Marichjhapi on the orders of anyone and that they were there to demonstrate the apathy that Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh endure. Sudip Das, the new head of the provincial Scheduled Caste Morcha, took the effort to pay tribute, according to Paul. In each region of Bengal, honour was given. Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, has defrauded Hindu migrants. She vowed in 2011 to form an investigation committee to look into the massacre. After then, no one knows what occurred.

The Left Front administration, which controlled Bengal from 1977 to 2011, insisted that the refugees were not massacred.

And over years, unverified tales, books, and research studies have estimated the death toll from the supposed massacre anywhere from a little hundred to over a thousand.

In1979 February, Jyoti Bas the Chief Minister told the state legislature that just two persons were killed when refugees fought police officers while being expelled for intruding on territory and ruining the Sunderbans' mangrove ecology. Basu appealed to Morarji Desai, who was the Prime Minister at that time, alleging two Janata Party MPs, namely Haripada Bharati, and a Parliamentarian, of assisting the immigrants before the alleged deaths. When the Bharatiya Janata Party was created a year later. Bharati was appointed as the West Bengal unit's initial president.