Cooch Behar: Were attacked for backing Left, say ‘new Indians’https://indianexpress.com/article/elections-2016/india/politics/cooch-behar-were-attacked-for-backing-left-say-new-indians-2819467/

Cooch Behar: Were attacked for backing Left, say ‘new Indians’

Asked for central paramilitary forces

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Congress leader Krishna Debnath addresses a CPM rally in Kolkata Wednesday. (Express Photo by Subham Dutta)

Alleging that they were attacked for voting in Left Front’s favour in the recent Assembly polls, former Bangladesh enclave dwellers in Cooch Behar have requested the district administration for setting up camps of central paramilitary forces for their security.

On Tuesday, they visited the district headquarters and submitted a deputation to DM P Ulganathan, seeking the immediate setting up of camps by central forces. Earlier, on May 19, they had written to PM Narendra Modi about the situation and sought protection.

Forward Bloc’s Akshay Thakur claimed that the chief reason behind the attacks is the enclave dwellers’ decision to vote for the Left Front candidate from Dinhata.

Sitting MLA Udayan Guha, who switched from Forward Bloc to TMC before the election, denied the allegations and promised to “support the former enclave dwellers in their protest”.

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After the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh, 9,776 “new Indians” voted for the first time in the Bengal Assembly polls. Nearly 91 per cent of the former enclave dwellers voted in the polls. They said that soon after the results were declared, the attacks began.

“We were very disillusioned with the TMC. They distributed elections cards, but not ration cards. They promised rice to us, but it did not come. Afterwards, when we didn’t vote for them, they began attacking us,” said Joynal Abedin, a 21-year-old resident Madhya Moshaldanga, which was earlier an enclave, in Dinhata.

Ulganathan has assured the residents that adequate steps will be taken for their protection, but the latter are not very convinced.

“These are just promises. That’s all we have got till now. Neither our demands, nor our safety has actually been looked into. We will be forced to sit on a dharna outside district headquarters if this continues,” said Alamgir Hussain, another former enclave resident.