Odisha begins striking off Bangladeshis from voters’ list

Bhubaneswar: Amid growing concerns regarding possible influx of evicted immigrants following exclusion of more than 40 lakh people in final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) prepared by Assam, the Odisha government has now started to disenfranchise suspected Bangladeshis whose names figured in the list of electorates.

With the State Election Commission carrying out revision of voters list, the district administration of Kendrapara has disenfranchised as many as 137 suspected Bangladeshis from voters’ list.

So far, 137 Bangladeshis have been detected in the voters’ list in Mahakalpada tehsil. After thorough verification of their nativity and antecedents, these foreign nationals have been removed from voters’ list. The officials engaged in the exercise have been asked to ensure that none of these foreign nationals find place in the final voters list, said Kendrapara district Collector, Dasarathi Satpathy.

The coastal district has as many as 1,649 Bangladeshi settlers with Mahakalpada tehsil alone housing 1,551 of them.

It is to be noted that as many as 3,987 Bangladeshis have been staying in the state for long. Of them, 1,649 have been staying in coastal Kendrapara district followed by 1,112 in Paradip and Jagatsinghpur, officials said.

Odisha government had served deportation notice to 362 families living in Mahakalpada Tehsil in 2005. However, the deportation move was kept on hold following intervention by the then union government.

In an attempt to curb influx of illegal immigrants, committees comprising revenue, police and forest officials have been formed to intensify vigil on infiltration. These panels have been working in cohesion in infiltration-affected Maakalpada and Rajnagar tehsils, they said.

(With PTI inputs)