NRC: Once bitten, twice shy – Hindu immigrants in West Bengal

Tales of Partition and flight of their parents and grandparents to India have been part of every household’s family lore here.

A sense of anxiety and déjà vu hung like a dark cloud over Cooper’s Camp, one of the oldest refugee settlements in India.

Hunched over a rickety table on the verandah of a small brick house, overlooking the marshland, stretching east towards the 2,216-km Bangladesh border, Ashok Chakraborty was busy rummaging through old documents.

A paltry group of people that had gathered in his house looked equally fretful. Rising from a bundle of old files and pale papers, Chakraborty, the general secretary of the refugee council, said most of them — he was pointing towards the crowd — had lost refugee cards issued to their families.

“Until now, they did not feel those old pieces of papers, issued to their parents decades ago, will be so vital for their identity. I am of not much help to them either as many old files in our office here too have been lost. We have had to shift base several times,” he rued.

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